as above so below

as above so below
personal digital work on the basis of watercolour with natural soil pigments, 2024.
Investigating human-soil relationships through exploration of underworld dynamics, its counter-memory, and visions of potential coexistence.

Magdalena Smoter
Kraków, Poland - Milan, Italy
Architect and researcher, exploring non-human dynamics and interspecies correlations.
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Ecology, Visual Art, Research
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

Currently, I am graduating in Architecture and Urban Design Master's Degree from Politecnico di Milano, with previous academic backgrounds at Sapienza University in Rome and Cracow's Politecnico in Poland. I have spent my last two years exploring complex background entanglements related to the design realm, with my interests gradually evolving towards approaches rooted in deep ecological thinking as well as social and political dynamics. My current interests span from more-than-human theories of coexistence, research-based design, natural material experimentations, and visual arts. I have gained professional experience in practices such as ETB Studio, M32 Atelier, and Renna Studio. I dedicated last year to research developement related to soil issues, exploring the relationship between architects and the ground.

The proposal consists of a framework for further research aimed at drawing closer to the essence of soil and incorporating it into common socio-cultural discourse, leading to potential applications of new soil imaginaries. I began working on the theme of soil approximately one year ago, coinciding with my master's thesis, which investigated architectural practices related to soil consumption in the context of Poland. Although the thesis is now completed, my fascination with soil persists, compelling me to continue this research independently. I firmly believe that the underground realm remains inadequately recognized and has yet to find its place in disciplines beyond the sciences. Alarming statistics about soil health worldwide underscore the urgency of this issue.
Soil is yet to be seen by many as a three-dimensional ecosystem, without which everything that is above the ground could not function. It is yet to be recognized as a complex structure of interconnected and symbiotic entanglements. It is yet to be perceived as an intelligent living body and discovered beyond the mere surface.
My investigation takes the form of soil advocacy, aimed at fostering its more inclusive social perception, cultural awareness, and the development of necessary policies. I intend to further develop this investigation through research, dialogues, contextualized site visits, mapping, archiving, and collection, endeavoring to uncover what often remains unseen, hidden beneath the surface.