2015 May 11
Round Table
Display #1


145 XPS slabs

Also known as XPS, styrofoam or styrodur, extruded polystyrene wears the scientific name Poly(1-phenylethene). Searching for a way to replace die-cast zinc in certain applications, the inventor company found extruded polystyrene as a side product of war industry. Manufacturing polystyterene in the form of pellets began in Germany in 1931, but the company Dow Chemical (USA) is credited with the invention of the styrofoam process in 1941. Nowadays, the material is generally used for insulating houses.
XPS is flammable, was found carcinogen, and is slow to biodegrade, making its use highly controversial.

During the Round Table Humans make Nature. Landscapes of the Anthropocene, the floor of the department Landschaftskunst. Landscape and Public Space at the University of Applied Arts was entirely covered in extruded polystyrene slabs.
The XPS floor was visible and palpable to everyone, stripped off the layers of concrete and paint that would normally hide it from our sight, laid at the feet to emphasize the interconnection of humans and plastics. Through the sound it made and its soft surface on which the guests left their footprints. It seeped into the subconscious, further deepening our incomplete understanding what the Anthropocene, and the role of the individual in it, might be. (Text: Julia Mag)