Arts & Photography, Nonfiction (Adult), Reference
Date Published: May 30, 2023
Publisher: The Black Hat Press
i am in your teeth, your bones, your nails. i help your muscles contract. i help your heart beat. you need me. I am in every brick in the colosseum and in the walls of caves. I am in soil, sand, and statues. every living thing requires me to function. when the living die, when a building crumbles, i will continue on. i have many jobs, i live many lives. you call me Calcium.
indiscernible elements: Calcium explores the path a molecule can take through various stages of life and death - from the perspective of Calcium itself. through the use of detailed illustrations, poetry, and dialogue, author Korynn Newville creates a discussion around how humans can change the way they create the built environment to be more conscious of the wondrous systems at work in nature. if the same Calcium in a femur bone can be used in concrete to build a cathedral, a house, a sidewalk or can be recycled by a nearby plant or tree, how can humans purposefully help that process along? what would Calcium design if it had the choice? what would Calcium say if it could tell you its story.
read an except below...
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Excerpt from "Indiscernible Elements Calcium"
in humans… Calcium is in
organisms… Calcium makes up the earth… limestone is Calcium… limestone is used
for building materials… the built environment is created by Calcium! i was so
excited, i woke up my partner to tell them what i had just connected and the
story i was going to create. i imagined myself as Calcium - moving through the
earth, building bones, living inside the coral, being taken as limestone and
baked into concrete. i became empathetic for an element’s journey. i combined
my areas of study with architecture, death, claiming territory, and climate
change. now it’s the story you see today.
everything within the drawings is
intentional, it was important for Calcium to stay connected throughout. for
example, the buildings that are within the story are of the brutalist era which
have been torn down. even the buildings have a life and death of their own. in
the beginning, i struggled with transforming the idea i had into a story. i had
a lot of people holding me back, telling me to do different things, trying to
make their ideas shine through mine, and always pushing for me to find a
solution. as a result, i isolated myself to protect my creativity. while being
obsessed with and enveloped in a story like this was sometimes lonely and
depressing. i was being pulled many ways by people that could not see
where wanted it to go. the climax, plot,
and emotions that lead the storyline are a depiction of how i experienced
grieving. to start, i created an abstract drawing of my experience with
grieving. this drawing included grieving a loss of many kinds: animals, humans
or a relationship. during my time with those drawings, i had to put myself back
in the moment to remember and understand what the process had been for me. the
state of a loved one being sick, the agony and fear of the unknown, by their
bedside in the moment of passing, the moment of relief which is often followed
by guilt. the guilt, the gutpunch that can make you crazy. it isn’t linear, a
pattern, or even a cycle. it is messy. it is up, down, chaotic, beautiful, and
ugly. with acceptance and time, there is opportunity to heal. i used this
process as the base of the Calcium storyline because i feel it resembles what
we are going through with the planet. Covid had a huge impact on this story.
two months before the final presentation, we could no longer go into school.
our inperson presentations were canceled. i basically stared at the ceiling for
a month in a depressive state. for me, the storyline of Calcium was aligning
with reality. the whole world was sick, grieving together, and the earth had a
break from human rampage to have a moment to itself. the birds were singing,
there was no noise of traffic, and the skies were clear. i decided to go to
minnesota to stay with my parents and get out of the city. after that month, i
went outside to approach the project in a different way. i had spent so much
time on the computer and realized i needed to touch material with my hands. i
started building sculptures in the woods. i created a city out of cmu blocks
and gypsum (products made from Ca) to allow myself to heal in order to
understand how this story ends by growth, by giving ourselves back. afterwards
i came across a different site of concrete ruins within the woods that i knew
it needed to be the site of the story. i immediately saw the boulders of
concrete as a city of life in the same state as our reality. i found decaying
(living) Calcium within the concrete of the site, and it was so beautiful. my
niece and nephew helped me sculpt with gypsum as if Calcium was growing up the
sides of the building.
my dad helped me expose the earth with a bobcat. my brother and sister-in-law own the business that brought the concrete. my mom let me use her camera. it became a family project. in may of 2020, i presented this story as a representation of architectural drawings. as if Calcium was the architect and urban designer.