Soil Lab: Toxic Tour Beer Coasters
Margaret Boozer/ Raina Martens + UnInc. as part of Land/Trust Exhibition at Meyerhoff Gallery, MICA, January 2018
Soil Lab set up a workstation in MICA's gallery to create beer coasters from material collected at sites on Glenn Ross' Toxic Tour of East Baltimore.
Trained as a sculptor and ceramist, Margaret Boozer developed an interest in digging native clays that has led to collaborations with soil scientists and work that explores intersections of art and science. Raina Martens combines ceramic work and installation with her research into waste and toxic byproducts. She grants afterlives to materials like sludge and coal ash, melding them into work that dramatizes the entanglement of social and material worlds. Boozer and Martens have teamed up to support the work of environmental activist, Glenn Ross and his Toxic Tours of East Baltimore. With the help of UnInc., (a subsidiary of Red Dirt Studio, comprising a variable collective of creative professionals developing strategies for cooperative futures through reuse and recycling), Boozer and Martens produce sets of Toxic Tour Beer Coasters composed of materials collected from each of Ross’ Toxic Tour sites. Soil Lab sets up a workstation in the gallery for the duration of the exhibit, inviting and training volunteers in collecting site samples; creating beer coasters; and soliciting community engagement. The coasters are tangible objects, connecting purchasers and participants to Ross’ work at the most basic level, the ground. Funds from sales of the coasters go to Ross’ education and outreach efforts.