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The proposal developed from 2023 onward and is protected by BONO and international copyright laws.

Saltwater Fortifies earthen ash.

Art informed by Roman Concrete research.

Special thanks to Francesco Bentivegna and Marie D. Jackson.




The solution for humanities challenges now and in the future are often found by carefully examining history. In my artistic work I study patterns in nature, distances in viewing, while working with the poetics of space to develop relationships through composition, described as ‘sublime timescapes’ and ‘aesthetic resonances’ to cultivate and preserve geological empathy.



I hereby propose artistic research of Pozzolana with the American Academy in Rome. As a fact-based source of discernment, researching Roman Concrete throughout history and site-specific study will be used to inform the development of contemporary artwork.



Drawing upon longstanding interests in technology, geology, water, creating in harmony with nature through built environments, the rheology of earth over time and ingenious use of earth sediment serves a significance to understanding design longevity, include the endurance of 8, 5 to 13 meters depth, underwater sites. The Berkeley Lab News Center suggests Roman Seawater Concrete Holds the Secret to Cutting Carbon Emissions ( The resulting artwork’s conceptual focus shall look into notions enduring the test of time to improve sustainability and healthy ecological goals.



Roman Concrete interests me personally due to the way it becomes over time. Where in contact with seawater, the form and structure of Roman Concrete becomes more stable. The opposite occurs for Modern Concrete, eroding over time with prolonged exposure to seawater. This is a site of precise, material reality that can be related to philosophy in practice. Building metaphors and myths rooted in reality is of critical importance in a contemporaneous technocracy due to examining faulty logic. “Young” Roman Concrete needs time to develop strength from seawater and the elements and was deemed to not have the compressive strength to handle modern use. The folly in the logic is revealed in the application of Modern Concrete withering in time with cracking requiring continual structural maintenance to be preserved, such as in Lorado Taft’s Eternal Indian statue in Oregon, Illinois. The material distinctions between Roman and Modern Concrete are also to be looked at through formal structural research, for example in Nuclear Generating Station (Byron, Illinois) cooling towers. FERMILAB (DeKalb, Illinois), and CERN, and a great number of commercial, industrial, architectural, transportation, civil engineering, resource and waste methods to be researched.



My personal ethos is that facts generate healthier creations than ideas alone, and therefore have rooted my multidisciplinary artist practice in ongoing skill development in visual arts and design, photography (analogue/darkroom/digital), installations, music, writing and poetry, sculpture (clay, stone, mixed media materials). My educational background involves interior architecture, communications, social psychology, personal study of human behavior and biology, rooted in  my upbringing near forests, prairie preserves, nuclear power generation, alongside ongoing interests in the technology, geology, archeology, architecture and built environments. The study of Roman Concrete aligns with the way water and earth materials interact. The fundamental concepts in properly understanding nature, in my eyes, become metaphorically apparent in social constructions. In this way the affect and actuality of constructions may offer beneficial cultural relational activity between Nordics, Italy, and Americas, with potential to extend throughout Asia and Europe. Additional partnerships can be considered, such as the Enel Foundation, Norges Geologiske Undersøkelse and other Geoscience organisations.



The work can reside with the framework of Land-art “mark making” viewable by air, a sculpture significant to contemporary symbology (potential referenced by monoliths such as Easter Island), a mosaic or façade pigmented with relevant meaningful design, an Installation by applied use of photogrammetry, pattern development, and/or displaying the results of ongoing research in the study of nuanced differences in environmental interactivity between the chemistry. I also look to study and work with the ways pozzolana affords spacial, visual, acoustical, and design purposes. Publishing research, photographs and records from site-specific investigations to the caves, cisterns, and potential of transversing the Appian Way can generate an ongoing artistic production related to Roman Concrete by creating images (still and moving), sound and performance with dance and vocalisation. These proposals are based on my artistic work influenced by Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Kimsooja, Jennifer Steinkamp, Robert Smithson, James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, Gerhard Richter, among others in music, dance, and architecture.




Bibliography (to be continued, copyright remains with the publications)

Marie D. Jackson, Research at Utah: Geology and Geophysics

Excerpt from “Miracle Materials Episode 1: From Concrete to Clay” from Advanced Light Source on Vimeo.

Roman Seawater Concrete Holds the Secret to Cutting Carbon Emissions – Berkeley Lab News Center (

The fate of volcanic ash: premature or delayed sedimentation? Supplementary information (Nature Communications)

The Society of Rheology: Roman Concrete study

Journal of the American Ceramic Society – 2021 – Seymour – Reactive binder and aggregate interfacial zones in the mortar of Tomb of Caecilia Metella concrete, 1C BCE, Rome

Roman Noblewoman’s Tomb Reveals Secrets of Ancient Concrete Resilience: Study shows how changing chemistry in Roman mortar strengthens the tomb over time (Paul Gabrielsen)

Surtsy Volcano Research, University of Utah

2018 Jackson ACERS Feature Jun-Jul18

2014 AJA Program Abstracts Surtsey

2009 Jackson etal JAS

2006 Jackson & Marra

The Fate of Volcanic Ash

Chemistry of coal combustion products (wiki)

AHO, Toxic Beauty: Visualizing and Transposing the Waste Landscape of Langøya by Jhu Yin Hong

Magnetic Resonance Research Project

(Possuolana, Tufa/Tuff)

The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard

Gesammelte Nachrichten von dem in den vereinigten Niederländschen Provinzen gebraüchlichen Cemente aus Trasse, oder gemahlnen Cöllnschen und Andernachschen Tuffsteine. In dreyen Sendschreiben … mitgetheilet von*Google Play


Freedom is unlikely to be lost all at once and openly. It is far more likely to be eroded away, bit by bit, amid glittering promises and expressions of noble ideals.” — Thomas Sowell



Previous works and thoughts on the proposed project: