BALATORIUM artist in residence / FERTILE LAND

“Humus can inspire the cultivation of collective and collaborative responses against fierce competition and regressive individualism. With humus, humans can elaborate strategies to rebuild ‘a world that contains other worlds’... As Donna Haraway wrote: We are compost, not posthuman.”

Romakin and Saracino, Humus

How we garden, grow food and treat our soil affect the world around us. Caretaking can easily become a harmful routine under sincere hands causing disruption on multiple levels. The overuse of agricultural fertilizers endangers the health of the land, and the surrounding waters, and threatens the food security of humankind.

There is a subterranean battle invisible to the human eye. By sprinkling dressing to the soil to aid the production of crops, a high dose of phosphorus is released into the land, far more than plants can access. Phosphorus enters creeks, and lakes and triggers entangled biological warfare between worms, bacteria, fish, and algae for nutrients and oxygen. Phosphorus is also the cause of global conflict. 80% of phosphate is mined in only three locations (Marocco/Western Sahara, China, Algeria) and most countries are expected to run out of their domestic phosphate supply in the next generation bringing about a worldwide food crisis.

Fuzzy Earth explores agricultural protocols and gardening habits in the region of Balaton Uplands as part of the Balatorium residency program. We collaborate with scientists and agricultural experts to map out the use and the ecological effects of Phosphorus. We apply various soil testing methods and review crop use to visualize the overpowering presence of phosphorus in the local landscape. 

As a response to our site-specific investigations, we propose a spatial installation created to host events and instrument social change. We will perform soil testing conducts infused with agricultural rituals as a collective act to uncover and appreciate the needs of the soil. The tactility of the artwork will be a result of experimentation with locally sourced clay and minerals. The colors will be borrowed from our laboratory testing processes. The form will advise the soil performances. We propose the Platán strand or the Kápasztáskert allotment garden as the location for the installation and the events.