While crossing the Negev desert with my car, when the temperature outside reached 50 degrees, among the brown dunes, I saw a white, sparkling, 16-meter-high mountain of glossy, pure, petite diamonds, neglected in the desert. It struck me like a storm in the clearest summer morning of July, like most unexplained phenomena written in the pages of our history: there stood a mountain of pure salt in the middle of the Negev desert. If I had found it 200 years ago, I would have almost certainly been considered the bearer of fortune.
Nowadays, getting hold on sodium chloride is not much of a feat - salt has become a resource produced faster than it is consumed. It is so prevalent, inexpensive and easy to obtain that we fail to remember the fact that this mineral was one of the most greatly desired and longed for natural substances in human history.
At the start of my journey as a Masters student and as a contextual designer at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where the only white dunes I have seen are ritalin mounds , I became conscious of the fact that the "white gold" has lost its value. At that moment I decided to climb to the top of the mountain and claim my ownership - but my main concern and hesitation was: what can I do with a mountain of salt?
every year 20 million tons of salt sink to the bottom of the Dead Sea's fifth pond, an area where 20 hotels flourish. The fact that the salt sinks to the bottom and the factories transfer large quantities of water from the north basin which is the natural side of the Dead Sea to the south basin, to harvest more minerals (at the same time they get more salt), the level of the water rises caused by the layers of salt which are piled up. As a result, today the hotels are facing flooding and collapse. To solve this inconvenience, the factories decided to drop the 20 million tons of salt back to the natural sea at the north basin, a plan that is now considered by the government. The unbalanced new environment shaped by the industrialization of a natural resource led me to contemplate what can be done with the salt, which brought to my mind the words of Donald Sadoway, a professor of material chemistry at MIT, who spoke of abundant natural resources, "If you want to do something dirt-cheap make it out of dirt, preferably dirt that it is locally sourced".