Traces from the Anthropocene: Working with Soil (2018-2019)

Research Pavilion #3

Awareness of ecological issues, such as climate change and microplastics have raised general concern of the stage of the environment. Only recently the discussion has tackled the consequences of the human imprint in the contamination of the soil. In this research, we use soil as the material mediator to explore and communicate the intertwined relationship between human and environment. The natural environment contains diverse raw materials that can be used for making ceramics. The mineral composition of these materials varies depending upon the place where they are gathered. We aim to explore the human imprint to the geological environment with artistic methods combined with chemical analysis. The context of this study is the contaminated sediments of the Venice lagoon. The project builds on a collaboration with artist-researchers from Aalto University’s Department of Designs Empirica research group and the experts of contaminated soil from the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE as well as visiting researchers and artists.

Area of work space

In this research we understand craft making as a philosophical space that enables us to think through the ethical and ecological concerns related to the stage of our environment. We use craft making as an embodied practice that enables us to establish a dialogical relationship with the local environment. We see this as a valuable act through which to (re)consider the relationship between human and nature profoundly. In this study we ask, would working with contaminated soil be able to raise awareness of the relationship between human and material world and their entanglements? This artistic research relies on experiential knowledge that is achieved and captured in tandem with the evolving creative working process that takes place during this study.

Working with soil

This project proceeds in a form of research laboratory which takes place both before and during presenting it to the public in The Research Pavilion #3 hosted by University of the Arts Helsinki, in the context of the Venice Biennale in 2019. The activities in the Research Pavilion will include displaying results, studio practice, audience engagement and discursive events.


You can follow the research cell in the Research Catalogue. (LINK