Alma Matter collective
Alma Matter is defined as someone or something that provides nourishment. It comes from Latin meaning generous mother. It is precisely my intention with this project to give back or nourish aspects that we, as humans, have a negative effect on, in this case soil pollution, soil degradation and bad waste management. The project also takes place during an extraordinary time for humankind, the coronavirus pandemic. This signaled/brought about a significant change in terms of human interaction and human-environment interaction. Alma Matter is conceived as a strategy involving local communities, educational institutions, local businesses and governmental entities through biodesign tools. This project develops on the East side of London in the Borough of Hackney at the London Fields Park.
Alma Matter Trailer
Matter: Is linked to the importance of everything, in this world lacking of “meaning” or searching for a purpose we have to realize that this meaning is in each of us, is individual and personal and it drives your existence. Nothing matters but everything matters. There is an intrinsic direct or indirect connection with matter.
Physical matter, soil, nature, what we perceive with our senses and each of these follows a purpose in a systemic point of view. Life/nature is conceived as a unique chaotically beautiful system, where we want it or not, there is a role for everything.
Be important or significant (definition from the dictionary) exactly the intention as well, important cause, important to realize how vital soil is in general.
Alma: “Kind”, “Fostering”, “Nourishing” reflects these acts of kindness inside of each of us, linked to our primal instinct of socialize and share as a community. Give nourishment in a way. It is intangible, immaterial, hard to explain with words it is better to feel it/experience it.
Both words apart seem completely opposite from each other, they work as a complement from each other, the same importance or significance one from the other and it enriches the whole definition of it.
Almatray works as a product part of Alma Matters bigger system, working as a biodegradable rural ashtray to the park. Is a local grown product using fungi from local waste, such as cigarette butts, by local people of Hackney. Co-designed with the community’s insights and experience and with the biodesign upgrade. It also has a symbolic value in the sense of being a London Fields trademark, it provides a reference or identity to a park that lack of one. LF initials of the park.
Community - London Fields User Group
During my research I managed to get to know and work alongside a lovely local community of the area called London Fields User Group which is formed by residents that want to make a change and preserve the London Fields Park. They have been organizing weekly litter picks with the beginning of Spring as part of the solution to the excessive waste every Sunday and Monday. They have been planning different initiatives for a couple of years and there is potential to keep growing around the area of the park.