Matter House

Matter House
Cubes of Waste & Nature: Building Blocks for Sustainable Reflections on Bodies, Environment & Habitats

Lea Blau
Rijeka,Croatia / Tallinn, Estonia
Team members
Lea Blau
Field of work
Ecology, Visual Art, Multimedia, Other
Project category
Material tracking and reuse
Project submitted

I am a performance artist, and my work revolves around materials, the human body, and sustainable habitats. I explore the relationship between the body and materials, questioning their functional, metaphorical, personal, and collective values.
My current focus is on "body habitats," where I examine nature's dual nature - its functional and symbolic power. Through my art, I aim to prompt questions about our connection to the environment and living spaces. How does the environment shape us? How do we move within it? What choices do we make about our living spaces?
Presently, I'm engrossed in the study of sea salt. I'm experimenting with sustainable ways to manipulate salt, creating salt sculptures, and researching its history, function, and myths. I explore salt as both a building material, as ancient civilizations did, and as a bodily material. (salt is also a waste material).
In my practice, my aim is to bridge the gap between our inner and outer worlds. I seek to establish connections that promote a sustainable and respectful relationship with nature. Ultimately, I hope to foster a sense of belonging to the environment and encourage conscious decisions about our living environment.

Deeply connected to see salt through my Mediterranean culture and spiritual symbolism, I initiated my salt journey in January 2023. Experimenting with salt, I discovered its potential as a sustainable building material, evoking a sense of connection to the sea and our environment. Themes of belonging and protection inspire my work, as I contemplate my body as my only home, navigating a life of constant migration.

To address the environmental crisis and ethical implications, I envisioned an art project that interweaves sustainability, architecture, and the human experience. The focal point lies in crafting cubes, like "Lego" blocks, from three materials, each with historical significance, symbolism, and function.
SALT, representing preservation and strength, echoes its historical use as a building material. WOOD symbolizes nature's warmth and nurturing aspects; while RECYCLED PLASTIC embodies transformation and sustainability, repurposing waste material.

Second part of my proposal is performative- I would enter the city with cubes lying on a portable cart, and invite passengers to collaborate in a playful game of collective house-building. Out of cubes, I would invite them to build a house with me, slightly larger than dollhouse. Process in the city is imagined as very spontaneous; rather than a staged performance it is a call for sharing and interacting with each others' ideas on sustainability, architecture and sense of belonging.

The project can evolve by incorporating new materials, refining the game, and engaging participants. Each completed structure will be documented before being dismantled into cubes, sparking reflections and interactions.
"Matter House" transcends traditional artistry, catalyzing profound contemplation on our environment and fostering a sense of community. It sparks conversations, encourages collaboration, and promotes sustainable practices, igniting positive change for our habitats, bodies, and world.