Displaced Soils & The Pseudo-Science Of The Scientific

Installation, 2012. 31 soil samples (sand, earth, salt, seawater), microscope slides – 1,62 x 0,08 m

Exhibited at ‘all design’ Research Architecture. Departure Foundation, London (28 Sept – 14 Oct 2012). Curated by Helene Kazan and Louise Ashcroft.

Exhibited at Artfoyer Cavigelli, Zürich (23 Feb – 15 March 2013). Curated by Anca Sinpalean.



Governance over a territory can be regarded as a matter of drawing and shifting boundary lines. Adjusting those lines to personal interests becomes the paradigm of governance. When considering the milieu and the interrelation of cause and effect, Foucault understands territorial boundaries as a modern conquest, compared to the notion of borders for Machiavelli’s Prince. If for Machiavelli, the main task of a sovereign was to demarcate, fix, enlarge and protect the borders of his territory, Foucault argues that once Modernity has made those borders stable, the main preoccupation is how to ensure a circulation of capital through them. So instead of regarding territorial boundaries as circulation of capital, Foucault today might have turned it around and regard capital as a constant circulation of borderlines. As a result, added value appears through the demarcation of the value itself. And crisis is the moment when these flows stop. 

The installation consists of an on-going archive of contested sites along the Spanish coast: soils that are physically solid and legally liquid. What used to be a nature reserve becomes subject to urbanisation. What was sand from the bottom of the sea is dredged out in order to fake an artificial beach on reclaimed land. We do not actually know our own geographical boundaries with accuracy, since they are constantly being renegotiated, redefined and reshaped. At a microscopic level, geological composition and salinity of the soil become utterly political. They are able to determine to whom soil belongs. Law uses scientific thresholds to determine the actual shoreline of the country. Scientific reports provide biased conclusions depending on the interpretation of those threshold parameters.

The samples are displayed on the floor following a straight line, risking that visitors to the space might alter this linearity by mistake or by accident of stepping on it.







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