Taube Erde Flammenfärbung (2022)

The “Taube Erde” tour, part of The Driving Factor, was a two-day tour in Erzgebirge, Saxony, exploring the impacts of mining throughout the region’s history and the possible consequences of future lithium extraction. Different socio-material-ecological traces of the mining industry were analyzed in dialogue with experts, activists, inhabitants, as well as through art interventions. In mining, the term “Taube Erde”, or deaf earth, describes soil from which no more elements can be extracted. Flammenfärbung, or flame test, is a chemical procedure used to detect the presence of elements in extracted matter. The color of the flame denotes a specific element: the flame’s color of lithium, for example, is carmine imperial red. One must note that the range of elements positively detectable under these conditions is small, as the test relies on the subjective experience of the experimenter rather than on any objective measurements. Maryam Katan’s audiovisual composition is an effort to capture and interpret via her lithium-battery camera the ecstatic reality of the research of The Driving Factor. This research, conducted as a collective body moving from the cold depths of the earth to 40 degree Celsius heat up on the hills, in the video is reflected with the help of a color spectrum ranging from black to connote spaces of extraction, to white for spaces of the production, accumulation, and export of knowledge.