February 2017

We may not even be aware of the important and multi-layered role ropes play in our everyday lives. We may no longer think about how ropes made the lives of construction workers, sailors and merchants easier in the past. The techniques, materials and processes used to make ropes may have changed over the centuries, but their functionality is as important today as ever. Plastic is a material we can no longer imagine our world without. It seems irreplaceable and yet it is wasted and misused. The Ropery is a project I developed as part of the Love School Project, a collaboration with a school in Nairobi, Kenya, located in one of the largest slums in the area. Together we focused on upcycling - reusing waste from around the school and community into something useful. After an extensive research phase, we decided to make ropes from used plastic bags and give them a second life as durable baskets. The project is based on both the traditional West African culture of basket weaving and my culture, which comes from the port city of Hamburg and its ships and ropes. Together we experimented over a period of three months and finally concluded the project with a realisation and a visit to the site on my part.