A Grain of Salt

Installation, mixed media, 2013


In this exhibition I investigated the possibilities of making chemical imprints on photographic emulsion with the aid of salt, water and caffeine based developer.

This idea springs from a practice of working with discarded film material. In a time where the chemical image is disappearing fast and is replaced by digital techniques this is not just a nostalgic position. Film emulsion is a combination of organic and chemical-industrial inorganic materials, and offers a tactile surface to be worked on.

It contains many possible analogies to our own bodies; absorbing light and fluids and aging and deteriorating over time. Simultaneously it is connected to optical and mechanical devices like lenses and projectors. The transparency and familiarity of these devices and techniques offer a radically different experience then the closed and alien nature of many digital synonyms.

In a society that rapidly develops towards a system in which communication primarily takes place through digital simulation, the analogue is not merely outmoded but becomes subversive: Out of reach and out of control of authority . Moreover, in a global market environment that offers any product in a packaged and prefabricated form, basic materials become worthless and obsolete.

The time that salt was kept in storage and was a precious asset seems to be long ago and far beyond. By using salt, homemade developer and discarded film I want to reveal an unexpected possibility and simultaneously show the hidden patterns of nature that we carry within our own bodies.

The crystalline beauty of grains of salt is stored in photographic emulsion not considered fit for reproducing reality anymore.


Das Esszimmer (Bonn, Germany)