Valentina Ferrandes

Videomaker & Media Artist

ON NICHES

2009 + Sound installation + Slides

A soundtrack: a voiceover reading a text about ecological niches and fungi alternates to an interview to a local resident from a council estate along the Lea River. Although semi-fictional, the text provides information regarding fungi and bacteria in their environment, and references how bio-remediation is carried out on building sites. Bio remediation is a technique used on large building sites to “wash” soil that has been contaminated by toxic materials. Fungi and bacteria, are inoculated undeground, together with vapour, to help their proliferation. When in large quantities, these organisms have the power to “digest” all organic compounds, before regenerating the soil.

A slideshow: a series of photos taken inside and along the perimeter of the Olympic site, in London. Most of them depict a monotonous series of mounts of soil waiting to be washed, a scenery bare of urban elements, a “short term” landscape. A second set of photographs depicts a canal by the “Sewage Cathedral”, the first sewage work in London, on a day of low tide.

As the woman in the interview explains the architectural history of her housing estate, a parallel is drawn between social sanitization and ecological systems.

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