The Art of Reduction
In the silk industry, silkworms are steamed or gassed alive inside their cocoons. Though their reactions to pain are not visible to the naked eye, they do feel pain. As a vegan, designer ErezNevi Pana expresses his empathy towards all creatures and sees the exploitation of every form of life as immoral and unjust; what reveals is a spiritual aspect to his designs which is based on the principles of ahimsa (physical and psychological nonviolence norms toward all living things).
Erez Nevi Pana’s research gives an answer to a specific question: is it possible to conceive design without using any material derived from animals? Born in Israel in 1983, the designer transfers his deep respect towards life, human beings, and nature into his design methodology by refusing to use any product containing animal molecules, such as fabrics, wool, leather, or any other material which is normally used in the design — rubber gloves, paint, plastics, resin, industrial glues.
His works are produced within some sort of a diet by carrying on an ethical subtraction or reduction–established through cleverness and research. To assemble his pieces, the young designer uses plant substances and minerals focusing on those coming from his native country. Nevi Pana’s delicate works shape a utopia that in our present time we often forget to even take into account or to think about as there would be no possibilities to deal with it, fully respecting any kind of living being and environment. His work is unique under many aspects – research, approach, outlines – but, above all, is free from guilt.
Nevi Pana’s fascination with textiles comes from his past. His ancestors traded yarns with the Indian village, NabiPanah from which his last name originates. In this project, he exhibits his own evolutionary process as a vegan. “Doubts about materials I was using in my designs started to emerge, especially relating to yarns as most of my income came from weaving textiles”, said Pana. The designer started to understand how far he can go with the moral values and norms which relate to animal rights, arguing that scale is not an issue to determine which animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives. With ‘Unravelled’ he uses peace silk – a production process which involves the principle of non-violence toward all living things. The cocoons of the silkworm are harvested in nature after the moth has emerged and flown out. The silk yarn is then translated into a huge cloth that exposes the beauty of a natural material which is produced in harmonious growth without any harm.
“This exhibition delves into the vegan design. It is not about aesthetics or about function; it is a placid theory that can turn explosive. It is a trial leading to a design discussion through the atrocious reality of animals concocted within our objects and towards an alternative ethical orientation of harmony, of oneness with all animate and inanimate forms. This is a statement! The time for a shift in the legitimate contributions of the design field has come. But my main question remains – is it optional to define a true harmonious existence with other life forms on this planet? Maybe not Veganism, but Breatharianism is the answer for mankind”, says this very passionate designer. The exhibition is curated by Maria Cristina Didero and produced by 5vie.
“Five years ago, I began the process of change in my lifestyle from being a devoted carnist to becoming a fervent vegan. As a first stage, I began to change my eating practices and my diet. As a second stage, I began to question what I was wearing. Then, as a third stage, I started to question how I design. Doubts about materials I was using in my designs started to arise, and as I investigated the ingredients, I discovered an organized system which does not mention animal ingredients but uses euphemisms and code words that consist of substances that are hard to track. I emerged from this process as more knowledgeable, but with greater doubts and questions than before,” explains the designer about his process of realization.
“The choice of living a vegan routine in a society that is mainly a non-vegan one affects different aspects of life, but often becomes reduced to one’s diet. When you choose to be vegan, you reconstruct by/from reduction, and not only in your diet. Choosing awareness leads to action which expands the discussion too much more than a diet. A wider questioning of our design choices, a sense of superiority over animals, and their usage for our products arises. The basic materials that we use in the process of design and in the materialization of an object are reconsidered,” he says.