Soot is impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete burning of organic matter. While the black carbon in it is one of the biggest causes of the hothouse effect, pure carbon molecules are present in all known life forms and essential to all living systems.

Martens & Visser use this coal-black material as a pigment in her fabric dye by collecting layers of soot created by burning oil inside a the lamp. The color intensity is determined by the number of hours the lamp burns and the strength of the fixative used. The textile industry is one of the most polluting of all industries, and the appropriation of a notorious pollutant for the coloring process bears witness to large-scale environmental issue.

*’Roet’, Dutch for soot. Photography: Martens & Visser, Raw Color

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