Nube de Oro

FoAM invites you to a research gathering with Christian Thornton, glass artist and founder of Studio Xaquixe, Oaxaca (Mexico) and Brussels-based artist/researcher Bartaku, to talk about their work for and with the agave power plant. With 'Nube de Oro', Christian Thornton and Bartaku investigate the subtle energetic and communicative properties of the agave power plant. This project brings glass and natural dye-based solar technology into relationship with the agave's living system.

The agave has had a long and fragile relationship with humans, who have used almost all parts of the plant in some form - for textiles, paper, shelter, sowing, cooking and, most famously, for drinking (mezcal/'tequila') - and more recently as a biofuel. A distinctive feature of agaves is the dramatic way they end their lives. Depending on the species, they can live for anywhere between six and fifty years, and sometimes more. As agaves near the end of their lifespans, they sprout large stalks that grow from the core of the plant up to eight meters high. Powered by energy stored throughout their lives, adorned with flowers and seeds, this dramatic flowering can sometimes spark the same process in neighbouring agaves as well. After having transformed the landscape in this epic outburst of virility, the stalks collapse onto the now-shrunken and depleted leaves.

With a shared interest in transformation and the fragile relations between nature, energy and 'power plants', Christian Thronton and Bartaku began their collaboration in November 2011 as part of the Euroaxacan Initiative of Transformative Cultures (EITC), in which a group of artists from Europe and a collective of artisans from Oaxaca come together to share cultures.

  • More on EITC: http://euroaxaca.org/about 
  • 'Nube de Oro' experiments: http://euroaxaca.org/pv-glass-por-maguey
  • Agave biofuel: http://planetearth.nerc.ac.uk/features/story.aspx?id=829

About the Presenters

Christian Thornton is an artist and creator of Studio Xaquixe, an innovative contemporary art glass studio located in Oaxaca, Mexico, that utilises a holistic approach to business management based on living system philosophies. The studio constantly searches for innovative ways to apply these principles, asking: 'Is it possible to exist within these parameters while nurturing a sustainable structure in our immediate lives - and within a consumerist society?' For the past ten years the studio has specialised in reformulating waste glass, alternative fuel equipment, as well as social and environmental impact.

  • More: http://www.xaquixe.com

Bartaku is a Brussels-based artist/researcher with special interest in tropes and hyper-wounded realities. Since 2007 he has explored the relation between light, plant, body and electrical energy. His public work consists of installations, interventions, co-creation labs, writings and talks. He is a member of transdiciplinary lab FoAM.

  • More: www.bartaku.net; http://www.flickr.com/photos/phoef