The Osmotic Exposure of Wastescape
Research based performance
Designer-researchers Giulia Pompilj and Steffie de Gaetano expose, through colourful beyond-human signs, the traces of heavy metal contamination of the Dommel river, denouncing human’s abuse over nature.
Our research practices converge at the crossroad of plant, pigments, photo, polluted and fibrous matter. Stemming from previous work on permeable tissues that are exposed to anthropogenically accelerated cycles and interrupted metabolic fluxes, we set into motion an ephemeral, ever-changing, photographic exposure of polluted vegetal chemistries. Similarly to how membranes of flora assimilate the landscape they inhabit, the canvas too will absorb the plant matter we gathered at the confluence of the river Dommel and a stream carrying industrial wastewaters. Over the course of the exhibition, the conflux of the diverging temporal and metabolic rates of plant life and factory byproducts will become visible on textile. Through a chromatographic exposure, the chemicals incorporated into the fabric will reveal the history of heavy metal contamination of the river, in colourful beyond-human signs. We ally, as denouncers of human’s abuse over nature, with plants deemed alien and invasive which pioneer the abandoned margins of our industrial wastelands. In this work, we play with the fine lines between our animal porosity and hazardous waste, our human alienation towards the planet and our comfortable dissociation to anthropic wrongdoings.