Future Remnants

2018 — Dutch Invertuals
Future Remnants is a research into the influence of man on the evolutionary development of mineral formation. Based on scientific research that the surge in mineral diversity over the past fifty years can be attributed to man, the series of experiments can be seen as an advance on what is to come.

Reading an article on the recognition of 208 new minerals 1 , it dawned on me that man is responsible for a large scale redistribution of matter, creating situations that lead to unintended and unexpected reactions. Aiming to demonstrate how credible the alteration of earth’s mineralogy by mankind is, I set out to tangelize the concept through material research. Using only widely available household chemicals, used in everyday life, I created a wide range of material reactions and crystalizations.

  1. Robert M. Hazen, Edward S. Grew, Marcus J. Origlieri, Robert T. Downs; On the mineralogy of the “Anthropocene Epoch”. American Mineralogist ; 102 (3): 595–611. 

Steel, aluminum, zinc, and copper objects have been exposed to low chemical household solutions from a minimum of two days to a maximum of seven days. Creating a large diversity in beautiful patterns, crystals, and colors within this extremely short timespan, the project evokes and juxtaposes a sense of worry and hope. If such effects can be reached with chemicals considered relatively safe and harmless, what is already happening in the landscape and under the earth’s surface as a result of much larger scale chemical waste dumping? As the illegal drug industry leaches chemicals in the soil or waterways, and sand excavations are filled with polluted soils, are the reactions neutralizing damaging effects or will they create an even more hazardous situation? From a minerals perspective, this side-effect of human action might actually be very positive. Will minerals be the dominant rulers of the earth in deep time? Combining speculative design with chemistry experiments and material research, the installation aims to give us a glimpse into our future landscape.

illegal drug industry The Netherlands is (in)famous for its synthetic drug production and drug waste dumping.

polluted soils Clean soil is excavated, but policy demands the excavation sites are restored to its 'natural' state. Today, extremely contaminated soil from abroad is bought to fill up the excavation sites.

All photos by Ronald Smits | Dutch Invertuals

Future Remnants was developed as a response to the theme Mutant Matter by Dutch Invertuals in collaboration with Franklin Till, and was presented during Milan Design Week 2018. This project was a finalist for the New Material Award 2018.