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ADS3: Refuse Trespassing Our Bodies – The Right to Breathe

Cristina Loya

Cristina is a Mexican-Spanish multidisciplinary designer. She has concluded studies in Mexico City, Florence, Barcelona, Canada and her MA degree in London.

Her background includes published works from the re-production of Sol LeWitt’s wall paintings both public and private at OMR gallery in Mexico City and PACE Gallery NYC to her own paintings and architecture exhibitions showed in several galleries such as “aquiencorresponda” - at HarvardGSD, Lagalá and Artifice, as well as diplomas in History of Art from Sotheby’s and HarvardGSD. Cristina believes in the cultivation of empathy with our environment, our way of living and our historical and cultural background within a rapidly changing world. 

She believes in the intimacy that exists in understanding diverse cultures and environments and has an interest in installation, curatorial and exhibition design.

Her ideology encounter with contexts is translated on how material can be understood as either an external factor or an internal aspect that shapes the work’s identity, whether atmospherically, structurally or conceptually. Ambiguity and spontaneity become the cores for the exploration of new possible occupations where richness of meaning becomes more relevant than clarity of meaning.

In 2020-2021 Cristina explores the trace of elemental mercury in the Amazonian artisanal mines, and its multi-scalar relations through metabolic thinking by putting in question and addressing how environmental information through pollution can develop spatial intersections to build a cultural memory and national narratives.

Boundaries between environment and architecture disappear, turning architectural construction into an imaginary yet reconstructive landscape in which different iterations give rise to community memory where a sense of identity is perpetuated.

During 2020-2021 she was part of ADS3 where Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe) imparted this course. By tracing a specific substances that result from industrial and cyclical processes, the project investigates “re-wilding" nature and ourselves and how transmutation between territories, humans and nature provides an opportunity for this transformation.

The Amazon
Indigenous colonization

The Amazon has been thought of as an untouchable territory in which humans, animals, and nature coexist. 

Due to its inaccessible location for outsiders, it has been read as a border ecology.

Inside the Peruvian Amazon, a place called La Pampa inside the Madre de Dios region has been exploited since colonial times.

Indigenous people were displaced to give place to the industrialization of their indigenous territories, replacing familiar urban features, with unfamiliar environments, destroying memory and place identity.

Traditional ways of living in relative harmony with each other and the land came to an end when economic pressure arose, leaving artisanal gold mining as the only profitable activity, turning La Pampa into a place of conflict, that increased levels of mercury toxicity in the soil and in human and more-than-human bodies.

La Pampa's deforestation
La Pampa's alluvial gold mining and camp site

The pond's site presents a variety of visual and metabolic evocations such as cultural heritage, preservation and memory - they are no longer defined by their natural agents, they have become marginal and residual spaces throughout time just like industrial ruins.

La Pampa’s region is majorly conformed by abundant vegetation, fauna and people whose ancestral customs still prevail.

Nevertheless, its landscape has gone through deforestation and loss of 38% of the wooden mass and many endemic species due to the construction of local camps for alluvial gold mining.

Cocoons choreography
Cocoons #1 #2 #3
Cocoons #4 #5 #6

The proposed site specific intervention addresses the current environmental crisis of La Pampa abandoned mining ponds, where “re-wilding" is explored.

Every volume performs as a pneumatic society. Its ever-changing composition is an air-based choreography. 

Biofilms are placed on top of the ruins of each pond, acting as cocoons, which mutate throughout the year alongside the new vegetation settling in the ponds. After five to eight years, rainwater flooding enhances the growth and arrival of birds, insects, worms and terrestrial plants among others.

The different colors, shapes and scales of inflatable cocoon sculptures will provide an adaptive habitat alongside natural site conditions. 

Each cocoon, due to their changing heights but stable widths performs a series of progressively heated layers, leading to complete inflation, taking in consideration each pond's depth. 

Bioremediation of mercury is meant to happen in every pond. Throughout the day, heat is encapsulated, prepared for once the night falls.

Plan — Collapse phase (fall) Cocoons, ponds formations, human pathways, vegetation, animals, visitors, local workers + experts
Section — Adaptation phase (spring), local workers + experts, vegetation, animals

The landscape is in continuous adaptation. Different species project their own nature and become performers and observers for and from this intervention.

The cocoons act as a “trace display” for workers, diplomats/experts, scientists and visitors acting as an open-air museum throughout the whole year. An ephemeral structure is constituted in an annual cycle, this is meant to have several layers informing their performances: the building, the adaptation, the decay and the collapse phase. Inside the 4 phases, humans, vegetation and animals interact with each other depending on their progressive and specific role within each cocoon phase.

Animation detachment

Boundaries between environment and architecture disappear turning architectural construction into an imaginary yet reconstructive landscape.

Cocoons structure materiality
Cocoons dismantled structure materiality

The unfolded materiality of the cocoons, seek for the translation of embodied seeing instead of an opticality, aiming for the presence and the physical study of the new species growing in the ponds. Their material structure acts as a signifier inciting meaning and interconnection with their unique context which can't be separated from the visual, it is unified with a full range of somatic responses.

Organisms receptive embodiment

Natural pneumatic cocoons are shown from how different organisms look at them from their own perspective.

The cocoons seek for the exploration of a multi-scalar and multi-sensorial experience among the new species settling in the habitat.

Built phase — Deflated cocoons Local workers Open museum
Adaptation phase — Semi-inflated cocoons Local workers Open air museum Visitors
Decay phase — Inflated cocoons (triple layers) Open museum Visitors
Decay phase zoom — Functionalities and cyclical interactions
Utopian future (50 years)

Different scenarios portray the experience of working or being in nature as a form of bond, therefore, a sense of protection and identity. It also situates the project within a contemporary yet ancestry context.

Cultural landscapes are multidimensional constructions, a result of determined historic frameworks, a scenario of social life where interactions of biotic and abiotic elements coexist as a long-term socio-natural construct.

Degradation of materiality on cocoons cyclical scenarios

This phase tackles future heritage. A landscape treatment of territorial layers collect the memory and recovery of the place by creating sonic reverberations.

Animation of natural agents and cocoons intervention

The proposal explores the role of environmental preservation throughout the symbiotic analysis that exists between the relationship of natural landscapes and collective memory.

The intervention aims to establish cultural integration and build group identity through intergenerational courses and to ultimately, ensure endemic species survival.

A growing, disturbing detachment is contributing to ambivalence towards the relationship with our natural surroundings, putting at risk the past and consequently, the future.

The exploration of these intertwined ambivalences thrives among personal and collective experiences by natural movement in the search for unknown future ecologies, scientific matters, and land developments to give the right for communities and society over ancestral territories for future generations to come.