Written in sediment

‘Written in sediment’ is a series of handmade silk-screened prints, based on photographs of sediment cores, taken from the seabed of dead zone areas. Sediments are natural archives of an ecosystem’s environmental history. By researching how ecosystems have changed from oxygen rich environments to oxygen deprived environments in the past, scientists try to make predictions when these tipping points could occur in the future.

Organisms, like worms or crabs, that usually stir up the sediment, cannot live in dead zone areas, because of the oxygen minimum conditions. Therefore, organic material from algae or clay from rivers will sink down and stay untouched. This results in a layered pattern in the sediment. Often you can also recognize a clear black layer with organic material. 

‘Written in sediment’ shows sediment cores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, both naturally formed dead zones, that have been oxygen deprived for thousands of years.

This project was made in collaboration with scientist Rick Hennekam (paleoceanography, NIOZ).

This project is supported by the Fentener van Vlissingen Fonds ‘NATUURCULTUUR’ award and Stroom Den Haag.