The ungoing project Mudgram is using soil as an image bender during selfmade photographic technology. The new works represent photographic soil maps using directly the matter they consist of to visualise and speculate on their contamination, futures and current state. 

Mudgram collaborates directly with soil matter and moves away from an optical relationship with the world. I want to rethink how we imagine and depict pollutions by using collaborative and generative photographic processes. Like the climate crisis, pollution is an abstract threat, staying on an invisible level.

These images are produced with soil samples from specific actively and historically exploited and polluted zones. The soil samples were mixed together with sodium carbonate and vitimine c. Presuming these soils contain phenol acid, the combination of these 3 matters together makes a photographic developer (refr. Caffenol/Phytograms). This developer mud was poured on top of 4x5” monochrome silver halide film, a lumen mud print was exposed and grown and developed at the same time. The mud leaves its traces on the film, while constructing newly imagined worlds using their elemental composition, agency and material bodies.
This project is ongoing.

Mudgram, Dries Segers in collaboration with polluted soils, 2023, mudgram (on Ilford HPS 100 / Kodak TMAX100 / Fuji Provia 100F), different sizes

Locations of different soils are: Canal zone, Amsterdam; 3M, Zwijndrecht; ASB Recycling, Genk; INEOS, Antwerp; Gravel pit, Incheville and Bouvaincourt; Arcelor Group, Düsseldorf; Mine field, Waterschei; Beton factory, Hoboken; Brick factories, Niel; Sibelco, Quartz exploitation, Mol-Rauw; Car factory Ford, Köln


this project is part of the research Ask your hands to know the things they hold, held at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, Thinking Tools research group

Mudgrams, different original negatives on lightbox


Ask your hands to know the things they hold ︎