Reading of the Letter from the soils we have designed with, presented at the Monsoon [and other] Ground symposium, 22.03.2019, organised by the Monsoon Assemblages research project.
In my practice and recently completed PhD, I have been investigating possible relationships between humans and their ecosystems that nurture the resilience of both, with a specific focus on plant communities. The methodology is a reflective process integrated within the practice of built and grown architectures. It defined an ecological practice as a secular form of architectural animism that conceives of places as a beings with agency, that we garden with.
Soils, although not in the foreground, were regularly mentioned for the definition of a site’s propensity through defining the levels of nutrients and water, and structural capacity... This proposal is to reflect on a selection of the same case studies but this time from the point of view of soils. Soils will be analysed as characters, persons, connecting the life and rhythms of humans, as well as other animals and plants, to geological and climatic temporalities.
Of particular interest is how we can transfer to the future the varied forms of heritage embedded in the rituals of soil care, the biological (genetic), the ecological, the cultural.
Simultaneously, the lens of “new materialism” will be applied on this practice. The fields previously connected in the research were other architectural and art practices, ecology, landscape conservation, systems theory, as well as Taoist and Zen philosophies.
The form of this reflection will be a weave of multiple narratives – some literary, a letter, some theoretical – within which artefacts are embedded. It is conceived as much as a performance as an academic piece of writing.