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De Onkruidenier invited me to give the first Chalk Talk during their 'Leven met de Zee' installation at the WarmingUp festival at Tolhuistuin.

During the performative lecture we explored sounds of calcification, considered seeing our house as a part of our body, tested 'human exoskeletons' made from organic-mineral materials, and questioned if one day we can precipitate our buildings from of seawater, like the exoskeletons and micro-shells of our unicellular marine ancestors foraminifera, while two microscopic mineral architectures were appearing out of liquids and colliding, grown by scientist Marloes Bistervels in the Self-Organizing Matter lab.

During the festival, a few of my privileged space (a term coined to describe the space in which marine mirco-organisms precipitate their shells) experiments were part of the installation of De Onkruidenier in the glass container next to river het IJ. In these setups we tested different recipes to precipitate (grow) minerals out of salty solutions on top of organic templates, inspired by biomineralizing organisms, such as foraminiferal shells. In this attempt to short-cut geological cycles by forming our own chalk-tiles out of seawater -while carbonate rocks are formed by the accumulation of micro-shells during millions of years- we become aware of the geological time and biological effort involved in the formation of our most common building material: concrete (made from carbonate rocks, sand and ash).

By blowing our breath into one the privileged space containers, we attempted to capture a (tiny) bit of the CO2 that is expelled by the production of concrete, into our human shell material.

Photos by Tim Hillige | Minerals precipitated by Marloes Bistervels/ Self-Organizing Matter group led by Wim Noorduin (AMOLF)

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