Kyoko Hashimoto, Guy Keulemans and Matthew Harkness

Polylactic Acid Chain #1 and #2

about the artwork

Kyoko Hashimoto, Guy Keulemans and Matthew Harkness created Polylactic Acid Chain #1 and #2 as a commentary on the current use of PLA (polylactic acid), a popular form of polymer plastic used in 3D printers. While PLA is both recyclable and biodegradable, Dr Harkness’ research shows that waste material from PLA 3D printing is often not treated with care.

In this pair of necklace-like sculptures, the artists used both virgin recycled PLA sourced from maker spaces across Sydney. The collars create a chain referencing the polymer chains within the material. The inference here is to consider how important the polymer length is to successful recycling, and how they get shortened in each cycle from shredding. This shredding and mixing of colours create the detailed surface patterning on the beads. The beads are durable and should last a very long time, a consequence of their formal shape - the resolute sphere.

In the eye of the beholder, these oversized ‘jewellery’ pieces could represent prayers beads, worry beads, or Chinese Baoding balls, which are used for exercising and strengthening the hands.
Kyoko Hashimoto, Guy Keulemans and Matthew Harkness

Left to right: Guy Keulemans, Kyoko Hashimoto and Matthew Harkness

about the artists

Kyoko Hashimoto
Born Shizuoka, Japan
Lives and works Kaurna Country | Adelaide

Guy Keulemans
Born Gadigal Country | Sydney, New South Wales
Lives and works Kaurna Country | Adelaide

Kyoko Hashimoto and Guy Keulemans met in 2000 and have developed their careers together since. Their work proposes ethical and aesthetical challenges to paradigms of material practice in art, craft, design and industry — especially for those materials that dominate 21st century existence: plastic, concrete and fossil fuels. They create objects that address existential threats posed by globalised resource extraction and advocate new forms of sensory engagement with materials. Their works open up discussion around objects that transition between exhibition, commercial and domestic spaces in relation to the senses and the body.

Matthew Harkness
Born Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Lives and works Gadigal Country | Sydney

Matthew Harkness is an early-career designer, researcher and academic, who is currently a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He focuses on non-traditional research outcomes and draws on these to interrogate the ethics of making. Through material experiments, his practice-based research includes waste plastic and bioplastic materials, ceramics, electronics, and repurposed objects. Matthew has taught design courses at universities in Australia and Canada and exhibited design works nationally and internationally. He has shown work at the Australian Design Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria, Interiors Australia | Denfair, and Dubai Design Week.