November–December 2011

The subject of my research was the energy cycle of the Santal people, including the processing of drinking water, household water, burning materials, foods and toilet waste. How are these daily materials gathered from the environment, how are they used and how are they disposed of?

I was especially keen to learn about charcoal, which makes fertilizer rich and effective for agriculture. In Berlin, Germany, I have researched a fertilizing method that uses charcoal powder and microbic fermentation. I intended to research and use charcoal at the village and initiate a trial composting process. While staying with a family for a few days, I made charcoal and mixed it with lactic acid fermentation, which I could find in their food culture (“Hadiya” yeast), with the help of my host family. I was deeply impressed by how directly they could receive the blessings of nature and how wisely and efficiently they utilize the diverse available materials. Women taught these materials and methods to me and I eventually compiled them into a collage book. The title is “Without Noticing.” Every morning village women carry rice straw, ashes, kitchen waste, cow dung and other refuse to their backyards and make a compost heap. They have no need to study the theory of energy recycling, as we do, for within a year, “without noticing,” their ancient, traditional rituals produce rich compost – even containing charcoal – for their agriculture.

When I arrived in Delhi, a utopian idea for “Urban Gardening” came to my mind. I thought here might be a city where people are keen to have gardening places, like in Berlin or in Tokyo. It might be good idea to have a compost kit scaled to suit a balcony or small backyard. I immediately bought charcoal and microbes in Delhi and made compost starter kits. The exhibition visitors could take the kit home and start their composting.

8 Japanese Contemporary Artists – mutual sympathy in the orient (LINK)
SSVAD Santiniketan (West Bengal) and The Japan Foundation in New Delhi, India