Asignatura: Patineta by Fragmentario

Asignatura: Patineta reimagines Kvadrat Really’s Textile Tabletop, a hardboard material made from end-of-life textiles, as a skateboard. In her project, María-Elena Pombo collaborated with Autóctono, a Venezuelan skateboarding platform, and youngsters from Ciudad de los Muchachos, a children’s home in the Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto. The project’s title brings together ‘asignatura’, Spanish for class, in which the subject is ‘patineta’, Spanish for skateboard.

 

The project’s young participants were chosen in order to include perspectives that are not usually part of traditional design projects – and to give them a sense of agency. The children from the home took part in a series of sessions in which they explored skateboarding, design and sustainability from a global and local perspective. They worked with Kvadrat Really Textile Tabletop material to make 20 skateboards to share with their fellow residents at Ciudad de los Muchachos.

Textile Tabletop was chosen as an example of a material that uses excess matter (textile waste) to replace a shortage (lumber) to create a new aesthetic. It is envisaged that the skateboards will be used not only for recreation but also for getting around: Barquisimeto, the city where the children live, has experienced petrol shortages in recent years, which has led residents to consider alternative forms of transport.

 

Pombo regards the skateboard as both a symbol and an artefact with the potential to fulfil different needs: a source of recreational enjoyment and self-expression, it can also be used as a means of transport that doesn’t depend on petroleum. Implicitly, it also has the potential to raise awareness of the many industries that need to be rethought if the world is to move away from ‘extractivism’ – the removal of natural resources, particularly for export. Venezuela’s economy is itself based primarily on petroleum production, but the country’s recent economic collapse led to mass emigration – Pombo is herself a Venezuelan based in the US.

Pombo sees the collaborative nature of this project as showing the potential for industries and regions to work together in unexpected ways.

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