Carved Himalayan salt rock. Variable measurements.
Salt from the Himalayas was formed 250 million years ago, when a small sea was trapped within the mountains. Its waters were pink due to the massive proliferation of Halobacterium salinarum; an ancient microorganism that synthesizes a red carotenoid pigment as a defensive mechanism against extreme UV radiation. Halobacterium is so resilient, that when salt ponds in which they live dry-out, they get trapped within the salt crystals and can latently survive during thousands, even millions of years until the salt deposits dissolve once more and their bodies re-hydrate.
The average human body contains around half a kilogram of Halite, the geological name for Sodium Chloride, or common table salt. Eating salt from the Himalayas not only provides a vast array of earthly minerals, but it connects the human with the geological deep-time. It unifies the body and the mountain. Halite is one of those materials, in which the living and the geologic collide. Is it possible to think about the human body not only as a maker of landscape geology in the Anthropocene, but as a territory for geology in itself?
This work was commissioned by the Asia Culture Institute of Gwangju, South Korea and fabricated with the support of an ACC International Artist Residency Grant.
It is part of the ACC Asia Culture Center’s permanent collection.