Environmental artist Theo Rekelhof created a kinetic art installation called ‘Soil Symphony’. Through the metaphor of broken records stuck on repeat, he lays bare the absurdity of monoculture and its damaging effects on our soil. Evoking in us a desire for biodiversity and harmonious variation.
Almost one-third of the world’s farmable land has disappeared in the last four decades. All of the world’s topsoil could become unproductive within 60 years if current rates of loss continue. (UN)
One of the main drivers of soil degradation are unsustainable farming practices. Soil health is often neglected, as the focus is primarily on rapid and intensive plant growth — the end "product."
This is especially seen in the agricultural method of mono-cropping, where one kind of crop is grown on the same farmland year after year without change. It reduces the potential of the land to nourish a wide range of plant species. With each repetition cycle it reduces the nutrients available for plants to grow, creating a vicious cycle of decline in soil health, turning fertile land into a barren desert.
The repetition of broken records.
Inspired by the workings of soil health, the Environmental artist Theo Rekelhof combined his passion for nature and love for music into a vibrant art installation called "Soil Symphony". Through the metaphor of broken records stuck on repeat, he lays bare the absurdity of monoculture and its damaging effects on our soil.
A scratch in the record impedes the needle's movement, limiting its play to a mere fraction of the record's potential. Instead of a full range of songs, it's now stuck in a monotonous repetition of just a few isolated seconds. With each passing moment, the scratch deepens, gradually turning what music remains into noise.
Theo Rekelhof aims to evoke in the viewer a desire to see the records of soil symphony free from repetition. He hopes this desire extends to appreciating diversity in both agriculture and life as a whole. He believes that diversity is necessary as it is beautiful, be it in ecology, people, or music.