Offerings of Soil, Offerings of Mud

Ontological research to re-establish the Human - Ground relationship


The oldest known piece of literature is a Mesopotamian odyssey.

The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of Gilgamesh, the strongest of men, the King of Uruk;
the personification of Humanity, and the City itself.

In the third chapter of the poem Gilgamesh seeks out Humbaba, the deity which guards the Forest, - the oldest known personification of natural power and Nature itself.ย  In the story Gilgamesh finds Humbaba, fights and kills it, even as Humbaba begs for its life. All to cut down the trees to build with, and take the land to build it on.

In order to expand, The City kills Nature.

โ€˜โ€˜ [...] Humbaba bared his teeth at him [...]
[...] He tied up his arms like a captured man [...]
[...] Humbaba sat down and began to weep, shedding tears. [...] โ€

Epic of Gilgamesh, Chapter III, c. 2100 BC


Reflecting upon the vernacular and ancestral construction techniques, such as rammed earth and mudbricks, provides insights that can be harnessed using conscious design language. Combining a biomaterial based on wheat grain proteins with locally sourced soil, and applying it on a structures build out of locally discarded materials reduces our environmental impact, and aligns us with the principles of i.e. circular economy. By implementing a methodology which sees sustainability as a philosophy, akin to a contemporary nomadic
hunter-gatherer, each site-specific object created with such mentality, technique, and materials assumes
the role of a symbolic altar to the earth.

Consequently, decorating the objects with a relief motif of Humbaba, the oldest known personified deity of natural power itself, symbolically resurrects the spirit of earth, and invokes our primal feelings, deepening our connections with the soil, and the ground.

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52.00215 ยฐN,ย  21.118711 ยฐE
source of materials for Altar Table 01
wilderness site outside ofย  Warsaw, PL where nature is ''pushed back'',ย  and ''civilization'' can expand

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Offerings of Soil, Offerings of Mud:
Altar Table

is the translation of the research

A fully biodegradable biopolymer mixed with locally sourced soil, applied on repurposed cardboard,
shaped into an Altar which can, and should, eventually be returned to the earth from which it was taken, where it will fully decompose - itsโ€™ biomaterial components enriching the ground, and becoming an Offering to the Soil itself.

Altar Table 01, returned to its site of origin at 52.00215 ยฐN,ย  21.118711 ยฐE
excerpts from the 3D scanย documenting the process ofย  biodegradation

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Wheat Biopolymer, Found Soil, Cardboard structure

950 mm x 950 mm x 330 mm

appx. 15 kg

Project Inquire

BA Thesis
Summer 2023