Caliche Crystals is part of a long-term project called Caliche Winds, which explores the historical trade and wind-sailing maritime route of sodium nitrate (Chile saltpetre), or locally called “caliche”.
As an ongoing exploration, since 2016 Caliche Crystals has been developing as a close collaboration together with platform Lab:Present at the Technische Universität – Berlin and visual performer artist Kalma. This collaboration is currently conceiving outputs, where the central element is the experiencing of saltpetre crystals formations, in dialogue with architectural spaces and historical narratives.
In 2018, three new series from a selection of microscopic captions have been produced, thanks to the support of the Technische Universtität – Berlin, in the frame of the Festival of Lights. One of these captions was projected towards one of the highest buildings in Berlin, the Telefunken.
Caliche Crystals enlarges a real-time view of the dynamic and symmetrical crystal growth of sodium nitrate. It provides a reflection on the molecular geometry of this resource, from which its natural sedimentation in the Atacama Desert has been subject of scientific controversy: is not clear wether it has been formed by sea spray and oxidation, or as consequence of volcanic activity.
Microscope imaging assistance: Christoph Bartsch