L’Habitació de les Desateses

Stella Rahola Matutes

(Barcelona, 1980 - )

Stella Rahola Matutes values materiality as a substance that is always subject to change, whether it be from the involvement of and manipulation by human and non-human beings, interaction with its environment or the dynamic life of its chemical reactions. This issue entails politically considering manufacturing processes and their associated power relations, in other words, workers, their tools and the production spaces.

The exhibition explores these ideas by taking as an example the process involved in the transformation of a material such as glass and, to begin with, observing how it is worked on in a craft workshop. Different moments during the blowing of borosilicate glass are revealed by means of four artefacts. The first, entitled L’Aprenent (The Apprentice), shows the initial steps in the production of the pieces, and the last features La Fossera (The Gravedigger): the metallic receptacle that all glass workshops have which cast-off material is discarded into.  

The controversy reaches our country, which does not generate enough surplus borosilicate glass – we could say that there are not enough craftspeople – for this material to enter the standard process of melting and recycling. So, another non-human actant appears: lichen. Clinging and growing, it breaks down the glass and makes a substrate. It is the first species in nature that prepares the ground that is needed for future beings to develop.