Caliche Crystals – performance series

2018 – 2019
performance; microscope, saltpetre, videomapping
in collaboration with Kalma

Caliche Crystals is part of a long-term project called Caliche Winds, which explores the historical trade and windsailing maritime route of sodium nitrate (natural saltpetre), or locally called “caliche”.

In 2014, saltpeter crystals were grown over a period of a week in a saturated solution and then photographed using a digital macro lens.

As an ongoing exploration, since 2016 Caliche Crystals has been developing as a close collaboration with visual artist Kalma; with scientific advise from Lab:Present at the TU – Berlin and since 2019 from Parallax Lab at the UDK-Berlin. This collaboration is currently conceiving outputs, where the central concept is the experiencing of saltpetre crystals formations, in dialogue with architectural spaces and historical narratives.

In 2018, three new series from a selection of microscopic captures have been produced, thanks to the support of the TU – Berlin, in the frame of the Festival of Lights. One of these captures was projected towards one of the highest buildings in Berlin, the Telefunken.

In 2019, a new performance including an organ improvisation by Nils Henrik Asheim was commissioned by Screen City Biennial at the Stavanger Concert Hall in Norway.

Caliche Crystals extends a real-time perception of the dynamic and symmetric growth of sodium nitrate crystals. It suggests a reflection about the molecular geometry of this resource, which has been subject to scientific controversy regarding its natural sedimentation in the Atacama Desert: it is not clear if it has been formed by marine dew and oxidation, or as a consequence of the volcanic activity.

Microscope supporter: Bresser

  • Performed in 2018 at the Festival of Lights, Berlin, Germany
  • Performed in 2019 at Orgelnatt – Screen City Biennial, Stavanger Concert Hall, Norway


  • Screen City Biennial – Caliche Crystals, article published by Stavanger Aftenblad, Oct. 2019
  • Structures – Elemente des Lebens, article published by Technische Universität – Berlin, Oct. 2018
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