Althemia Marsland, GDMFA, 2023
Althemia Marsland is an artist and graphic designer who explores relationships and proxemics. Their work explores the intersection of love and touch, which often manifests as text-based art. Althemia observes language from personal studies of friends and lovers which they deconstruct to reveal what lies beneath the surface of written and verbal communication.
Soften Your Untouch reckons with extreme isolation experienced during the pandemic. Time became distorted and everlasting, touch was stigmatized, and our connection with others was dramatically altered. In this project, Althemia Marsland investigates cooking bioplastic forms with thermochromic properties as a way to reconnect. The bioplastics record a visual demonstration of time through an exploration of touch. The human body temperature activates the thermochromic pigments recording touch as a time-based action. Althemia then molded the bioplastics into a meal placemat, to reference their key experience of connecting through cooking during the pandemic.
These explorations of bioplastic making entailed sampling ingredients in varying ratios, with the key ingredients being gelatin powder and glycerin. Once the perfect ratio was achieved for the desired consistency (high glycerin content for more supple tacky plastics versus high gelatin content for harder firmer plastics), a thermochromic pigment base was included in the cooking process. Several samples were generated, of which are displayed and the artist encourages you to engage with as directed.