The Metabolic Factory
2011 – Present
Thomas Vailly’s interest in the transformation of substances developed whilst studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Technology of Compiègne. This concern was further developed whilst studying on the Masters programme at the Design Academy Eindhoven. His work explores themes of consumption and commodification – perverting the material perfection of slick industrial design.
‘The Metabolic Factory’ explores the traditions surrounding Dutch Vanitas paintings. Vailly’s uses human hair as a raw material, mixed with glycerine and sodium sulphite, produces a form of bioplastic resembling leather. Vailly’s graduation project is a ‘modern still life’ crafted from his own controversial material. The Metabolic Factory invites us to consider the natural process of deterioration. His still life acts as a mirror of our own mortality and imperfection, offering not only a daily glimpse of the truth behind our carefully constructed facades, but also realistic options for the creation of new materials.