Caliche Crystals – video series

Microscope captures transferred to HD Video
02:12; 00:35; 01:24 mins

Caliche Crystals is part of a long-term project called Caliche Winds, which explores the historical trade and windsailing maritime route of sodium nitrate (Chile saltpeter), 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 together with platform Lab:Present at the Technische Universität – Berlin and visual performer artist Kalma. This collaboration is currently conceiving outputs, where the central concept is the experiencing of saltpeter 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 Technische Universtität – Berlin, in the frame of the Festival of Lights. One of these captions was projected towards one of the highest buildings in Berlin, the Telefunken.

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 imaging assistance in 2018: Christoph Bartsch

  • Exhibited in 2018 at the Architecture building – Technische Universität – Berlin
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