PiNA and Association Trajna

Creative laboratory Crater

The Creative laboratory Crater is a temporary production space that opens up opportunities for sustainable ways of creating in the vastness of post-industrial ecosystems. It is part of the long-term design and research project Simbiocen, as a response of a group of interdisciplinary artists to life in the so-called Capitalocene, an era in which we are witnessing the mass extinction of species, climate change and growing social imbalances as a result of extractive economic policies. The project explores ways to create symbiotic ecosystems in which the human creator becomes an actor, actively co-creating a balance within a damaged nature.

During the project, a degraded area in Ljubljana was revitalized and a unique urban ecosystem, overgrown with invasive and other wild plants, developed. For more than two decades, an abandoned construction pit, known as the Bežigrad Crater, has been transformed into a laboratory for processing invasive plants and other organic waste. Rather than uprooting the plants, the project seeks ways to mobilize creative skills to design sustainable ways of living that can be evoked by the use of their biomass. In the carpentry workshop, the mushroom cultivation laboratory and the handmade paper workshop, they are testing the plant biomass as a building block for the design of new materials, products and alliances.

The knowledge they gain through practical research is shared with the local community and interested designers and architects in workshops, meetings and lectures organized by the creators on site. The Crater is also open, by arrangement, to the activities of all those working in urban ecology, organic farming and to those who are changing the relationship between humans and nature through their artistic and activist practices. In its first year of operation, new collectives and individuals have joined the Crater: Shelter for Discarded Plants Association, designer Rok Oblak and permaculturist John Buscarino.

The pilot project was developed in cooperation with prostoRož and Permaculture Association of Slovenia.