Simone Ferracina (EDO) and six alumni/alumnae from the Radical Harvest design studio at ESALA, The University of Edinburgh (Laura Dew, Thomas Everett, Issy Rice, Audrey So, Xiaowen Wang and Shuyan Zhang) present Push Puppet at Genova BeDesign Week 2023. Inspired by the traditional push puppets—wooden toys whose components are held together by tensioned elastic cords—the project temporarily diverts used bottle corks and weaves them into modular, and interactive, building blocks. The modules are connected with elastic string (without added glues or foreign materials) and can be easily disassembled and returned to recycling processes. While the festival’s theme—energy—is often associated with visible effects (the powering of motors, muscles, electric lights, etc.), the installation presents another face of energy, showcasing it as something that remains hidden within objects, and that keeps them stable—the force holding cork elements in tension. Indeed, this is a metaphor for the energy, labour, and environmental violence embodied—but often unseen—in designed objects.
The cork structures are wrapped around—and celebrate—the trees in the orange grove of the Santa Maria di Castello monastery in Genova.