Design activism on the coastal path along the Oslo fjord
One major threat to local biodiversity in Norway is the spreading of alien invasive species. Japanese knotweed is one of the worst plants when it comes to displacing other species. It spreads when we prune it and throw parts of it in ditch edges elsewhere. A stem of 30 cm is enough to start growing in a new place.
The design-project “Missing Species” uses the invasive plant Japanese knotweed (Fallopia Japonica) as the base material as handmade paper from the fibres of the plant. To convey a message and create a scenario, the product of the Japanese knotweed was juxtaposed to local endangered species. Holes in shapes of endangered species were cut out of the Japanese knotweed paper, representing how the local species are likely to be supplanted by invasive exotic garden plants such as the Japanese knotweed. This creates an absence, something which is no longer there.
The project was presented as design activism along the coastal path of Larvik in Norway. Along this popular path, Japanese knotweed is a growing problem. The lack of knowledge about this plant and what each of us can do to avoid the spreading was the main message. I, as the designer, was present in the exhibition spot to discuss the issue.