Protoplastic stages simultaneous encounters between high and low technologies, renewable and non-renewable resources, as well as between permanence and disposability. The site-specific exhibition, produced for Tops Gallery in Memphis, consists of a sculptural installation cast from biodegradable plastic and the acrylic formwork that was used to construct it. The project is an experiment in the application of made-from-scratch biodegradable plastics, a part of ISSSStudio's ongoing research efforts.

From the Tops Gallery press release:

Siddiqui frequently uses advanced digital technologies to design and fabricate his work. In this project the intricately patterned form is conceived digitally and inscribed into the acrylic surfaces using computer-controlled machinery. The resulting cuts produce highly detailed reliefs that function as both drawings and molds. He fills these reliefs with liquid plastic in order to cast the translucent surfaces tailored to aggregate into a larger sculpture. The plastic is made from scratch in his studio from nontoxic, compostable ingredients in a manner that reflects trial-and-error experimentation and open-ended research. With the sensibility of both an architect and an experienced home cook, Siddiqui has come across many opportunities to adjust the material’s properties to suit his needs, but has also been challenged by its organic nature. The cast plastic sculpture is the evidence of this ongoing learning process as well as a prompt for considering material lifecycles.

For this exhibition, the set of six acrylic pieces is presented as an edition of 3, while the bioplastic sculpture is designed to be composted. Each acrylic panel is set in a custom concrete base with wool felt padding.

Project Assistant: Taylor McNally-Anderson

Steel Fabrication: Sky Lutz-Carrillo