Oltre Terra exhibition requires "constructive relationship" between people and sheep

Design duo Formafantasma has unveiled an exhibition at Oslo’s Nationwide Museum of Norway in regards to the historical past and way forward for wool manufacturing, that includes a 1,700-year-old tunic and a carpet produced from waste fibres.

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Formafantasma created the Oltre Terra exhibition, curated by Hannah Eide, to unravel humanity’s previous and current relationship with sheep and, by extension, the manufacturing of wool.

Oltre Terra features a carpet produced from discarded wool fibres

The exhibition options archival and modern objects, together with life-size replicas of seven completely different breeds of sheep and instruments for shearing, organized throughout a diorama-style set inside a single gallery at Norway’s nationwide museum.

Among the many first animals to be domesticated by people, sheep have been first culled by hunter-gatherers round 11,000 years in the past.

Shearing tools in exhibition by Formafantasma
Instruments for shearing additionally characteristic within the exhibition

This marked the beginning of a posh relationship, in line with Formafantasma.

“The Nationwide Museum of Norway [which commissioned Oltre Terra] was desirous about us creating a physique of labor that pertains to the area people in Oslo, as a result of wool was an especially essential materials in Norwegian tradition earlier than the event of the trade linked to grease and farming,” Trimarchi and Farresin informed Dezeen.

Large open diorama at Oltre Terra exhibition
The exhibition design nods to dioramas

Oltre Terra aimed to mix artefacts sometimes seen in pure historical past museums with ones extra generally exhibited at artwork and design galleries, in an effort to spotlight the interdependency between organic evolution and manufacturing processes.

Among the many items on present are a cream carpet by CC-Tapis made of 4 completely different wool fibres extracted from 12 Italian sheep breeds.

This wool was left over from manufacturing and would normally be discarded for its coarseness, however the carpet intends as an instance how these rougher fibres can nonetheless be used to make merchandise that aren’t in direct contact with pores and skin.

Sheep model on display at Formafantasma exhibition
The exhibition exhibits artifacts sometimes seen in pure historical past museums and artwork galleries

Additionally on show is a 1,700-year-old woollen tunic, which was discovered preserved underneath a mountain ice patch 200 miles northwest of Oslo in 2011, and woollen sails that have been used for Viking Age boats.

On the centre of the set up sits a video that Formafantasma created with artist Joanna Piotrowska. Referred to as Tactile Afferents, the movie focusses on the sense of contact and explores the methods by which people have interacted with sheep over time.

Historical masks
Items vary from modern to historic artefacts

The exhibition additionally options replicas of notable examples of the species, comparable to Shrek, the Merino sheep from New Zealand who – like many others – was found within the wild with an overgrown coat in 2004 after he escaped his home flock six years prior.

That is an instance of when sheep want people, in line with Formafantasma.

“Many individuals are towards animal farming, which, when it’s intensive farming, we additionally assume is extraordinarily problematic,” mentioned the designers.

“However sheep in the mean time usually are not like their wild ancestors, Mouflons – they don’t naturally lose hair. They want people to shear them.”

Arm of woollen tunic
A 1,700-year-old woollen tunic options within the exhibition

The present’s exhibition design nods to the idea of the diorama – miniature or largescale fashions present in museums which can be encased in glass and sometimes show three-dimensional figures.

For Oltre Terra, the diorama was “exploded” into sections and left open, somewhat than lined in glass, to permit guests to really feel extra linked to the items and to query the boundary between artwork and science.

“For us, it is about unifying narratives and exhibiting how these are advanced ecologies that needs to be displayed collectively,” mentioned Trimarchi and Farresin of the set up.

“The scope of the exhibition is to discover this very intimate but intricate relationship between people and animals, by which the boundaries between tamer and domesticated fade,” continued the designers.

Still from Tactile Afferents
Tactile Afferents is a movie introduced within the centre of the diorama

Trimarchi and Farresin defined that one of many exhibition’s overarching goals was to advertise mutual dependence and respect between people and sheep, particularly in the case of farming practices.

“The connection between people and sheep is way more sophisticated and complicated,” they added.

“As with human relationships, there are abusive relationships, and there are simply relationships and constructive relationships. What we’re doing now [with livestock] is, in some circumstances, extraordinarily abusive, however this doesn’t imply that sheep and animals and people can not reside in a strategy of symbiosis.”

Sheep replica
Formafantasma created quite a few sheep replicas for the exhibition

The present took its identify from the etymology of the phrase “transhumance”, which is shaped by the mix of the Latin phrases trans (throughout, ‘oltre’ in Italian) and humus (grounds, ‘terra’) and refers back to the follow of migrating livestock from one grazing floor to a different.

Based by Trimarchi and Farresin in 2009, Formafantasma has beforehand introduced different exhibits that examine supplies, together with an exhibition on timber with furnishings model Artek that was held at Helsinki’s Design Museum final yr. The studio additionally redesigned its web site to scale back carbon dioxide emissions.

The pictures is by Ina Wesenberg. 

Challenge credit:

Formafantasma crew: Sara Barilli, Alessandro Celli and Gregorio Gonella
Hannah Eide

Oltre Terra is on show on the Nationwide Museum of Norway from 26 Could to 1 October 2023. See Dezeen Occasions Information for an up-to-date record of structure and design occasions happening all over the world.