Salt Lines: Exploring Climate, Environment, and the Saline Influx

October 19, 2024 - March 1, 2025

Namak Nazar (2023) by Hylozoic/Desires

Salt lines mark the merging of saltwater and freshwater, where river meets sea. Migrations, manipulations, and transmutations of saltwater and saline bodies, however, have transformed salt into both the maker and marker of climate change. Salt lines now form the boundary between present crisis and future disaster—a line that we as humans are dangerously close to crossing. In Salt Lines: Exploring Climate, Environment, and the Saline Influx, the past, present, and future of salt in our local landscape and global community are examined across three different installations that employ multiple media.  

Noted aerial photographer David Maisel returns to the Great Salt Lake after twenty years, creating a new body of work to illustrate, in strong visual terms, the extreme changes to this saltwater body that endanger its delicate ecosystems and imperil nearby human habitation. Two installations by Hylozoic/Desires, a multimedia performance duo featuring Himali Singh Soin and David Soin Tappeser, trace salt lines across time and space, and into an imagined future. Namak Nazar, an aural sculpture that takes the form of a “pillar of salt,” employs science, myth, and history to express both the doom of climate change and the redemption of inward reflection. Their Piscean Premonition, on the other hand, creates an archaeological site for future humans. Serving as prophets of a precarious planetary moment, salt-glazed ceramic fish made of local materials and created with local collaborators evoke mass extinction along salty shorelines. Through the different artistic perspectives and access points presented, Salt Lines can inspire solidarity across geographic distance, connecting the plight of humans—particularly those inhabiting similar desert environs and working within agricultural economies—as they face a future defined by climate events.

Terminal Mirage 4 (2003) by David Maisel

Image Credits (Top to Bottom): 

Hylozoic/Desires, Namak Nazar (2023), mixed media, Installed at Desert X 2023. Photo by Lance Gerber.

David Maisel (U.S., b. 1961), Terminal Mirage 4  (2003), archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.