Brooke Singer
art, inquiry, action
A soil profile in scientific research is a vertical section of the subsurface to study and classify the layers or horizons that form over time. A deep hole is dug to allow researchers to see the composition below the ground and produce its profile. Each horizon is a distinct layer that has different physical, biological and chemical properties than adjacent ones. The distinctions are visually obvious because of texture and color differences.

Soil profiles can be appreciated on an aesthetic level. When they are exposed they can be breathtakingly beautiful. Being inside a soil profile ravine affects people differently; it can be calming, energizing and sometimes transformative. Some people have attributed this to being six feet underground (or at burial depth) and others speak to being immersed in a biochemical field of microbial activity.

With Site Profile Flags, I am expanding the notion of a soil profile and visually representing the layers both above and below ground. I am transferring the physical, biological and chemical properties of the layers (e.g. plant, rock, soil, microbe, human) onto fabric through dye-making. The resulting flag marks the site and is a symbol for the interactions between the layers or ecosystem parts that are often symbiotic or mutualist. The flag is a bioregional representation rather than geopolitical.

In 2020-21, I installed Site Profile Flag #4 at Unison Arts in New Paltz, NY. Here is a short audio piece explaining the work and process of making it.

Here is a Hyperallergic review of the Unison exhibit “Owning Earth” with mention of Site Profile Flag #4.

Site Profile Flag #3 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY)

Site Profile Flag #1 (Marble House Project, Dorset, VT)

Site Profile Flag #4 (Unison, New Paltz, NY)

Dye-making: l. to r. curly dock, marble and rust