© 2019 Inés Cámara Leret

Land of Diatoms




An hybrid research project where diatoms are addressed as a metaphor to establish a dialogue by remembering historical events, tracing existing narratives and discussing desirable futures of the land, its waters and its people.

Diatoms are microorganisms sensitive to chemical changes and are therefore used to analyse ecological parameters such as water quality. Due to their cells’ silica wall, they fossilise easily. Through their study, it is possible to analyse agrarian cycles for example marked by the arrival of the Romans, the Industrial Revolution or livestock farming. Diatoms can be found everywhere as they disperse easily, with their presence not limited to places where there is or was water. Furthermore, diatoms outline a map of invasions through the study of their migration, dispersal and propagation of different species, resulting from human activities.

The work materialised in several ways including: a living cartography of all diatoms collected, hybrid ways of using microscopy, the rememberance of submerged towns, the construction of tools for scientific sampling, and a replica of traditional ways of laying cobbles ahead of the incipient architectural anesthesia.

The work was selected by LAB987 at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilla & León. It was supported by the University of León, through the Department of  Cultural Activities, the Vicerectorate of Social, Cultural and Sport Responsibility and the Laboratory of Diatoms as well as KASK/School of Arts de University College Ghent.