Reflections on soil future(s), present(s) and past(s)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Soil, and soil-like substrate such as compost, inspires this essay as a reflection on the art-ecology-heritage poetics that emerged from co-organising a trans-disciplinary workshop. Different temporal-focuses are mixed within the text to elaborate upon the potential of soil future(s), past(s), and present(s), in relation to artist-led cultural heritage and innovation. The workshop event was designed and undertaken in collaboration with Latvian interdisciplinary artist Maija Demitere, for the occasion of iWeek International Study Week at Liepaja University in early November 2015. The workshop used a 4-day process to explore with students and other interested persons various temporally-defined practical investigations into soils and our relationships to them. The workshop is contextualized by making reference to other artist-led soil works from art-science, bioremediation or compost-making perspectives. Our workshop activities included making compost in the present; questioning the past histories of soil usage in a contemporary Latvian market-garden; and innovative integrative designs for compost in public-space. Towards the end of the workshop process, our activity split into two foci, in which this author became involved in investigating geophagia—the traditions and practices of ingesting soil—and the making of 'gourmet soil-cakes'. This rather unusual outgoing activity sparked unexpected thoughts and feelings, ranging from relations to tasting and remembering one's displacement from childhood and to the land, as well as digging deeper into social-cultural history to suggest further exploration into suppressed Courland colonial history and dirt-based relationships.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-156
    Number of pages14
    JournalAcoustic Space Journal
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed
    EventRIXC Art Science Conference: Open Fields - Riga, Latvia
    Duration: 29 Sept 20161 Oct 2016


    • Soil
    • Cultural Heritage
    • Geopgagia
    • Artistic Research
    • Network Culture


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