The Shoe Problem

Agora Rollberg, Berlin, Germany

This workshop was specially conceived for the AFFECT Program – While We Work: A temporary state of affairs, initiated by Judith Lavagna for the residency project at Agora Collective.

Life on the planet is being regulated by an energizing continuum from above and below. Our structures were designed by Nature to receive and transmit that energy. Think of our bodies and forms as antennas”.

Matteo Tavera, La Mission Sacrée, 1969

The particular condition and history of the building designated to develop the AFFECT residency program, posed a challenge in which intervention and materiality had to be present in this project, by raising questions about the flow of electrical energy both in space and the reception of the beholder, taking in consideration the history of the building as a (possible) shoe factory.

The starting point of the concept and testing phase is the book entitled «Earthing» (1), which reveals recent studies about the importance of the field of electric power that resides on the surface of planet Earth and its relationship to all living things. The central theme of this book is that the Earth can draw an electrical energy through our feet in the form of free electrons fluctuating at many frequencies, resetting our biological clock and providing the body with a balanced electrical energy. The fact that modern shoe soles have separated us from this energy, make them virtually “deadended”, cancelling the natural connection to the approximately 1.300 nerve endings per square inch that cover the plantar surface of the foot. Rubber, plastic and petrochemical compounds form part of our daily un-connection with the natural flow of electricity provided by the surface of the Earth.

This workshop aimed to achieve a shifting creative dialogue between this theory and a participative/collaborative/performative intervention in the space, experimenting with our bodies, and a basic knowledge about our own electrical flow, and how this is affected by various elements of contemporary dynamics, resulting in an excess of virtual social connection, while a consequent imbalance of our own molecules with respect to the earth’s electrical charge.

(1): Earthing—The most important health discovery ever? Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D.Martin Zucker. Basic Health Publications, 2010

Photographs credits: Judith Lavagna and Mo Ossobleh


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