In January 2023, the TiO2 research team received an exciting e-mail from Indian architect and researcher Kshitija Mruthyunjaya visited who told us that she had found Marte Johnslien’s work online and that she is working on a similar project to Marte’s on the titanium dioxide industry - only in India. We had a Zoom-meeting we were blown away by her work and the story about the TiO2 production in Kerala, India. Here, the industry is polluting the neighboring villages with iron oxide, and the harvesting of ilmenite from the beaches leads to dramatic erosion of the seashores.
In September Mruthyunjaya was visiting us in Norway and took part in the TiO2 Prøvefelt exhibition at ROM for kunst og arkitektur. In addition to several presentations to the audience and invited guests, Johnslien and Mruthyunjaya organized a public artist talk about the white pigment, looking at the differences and similarities between the industries in Norway and India.
Kshitija Mruthyunjaya (b. 1988) is a trained architect with a B.Arch, MA in regeneration and Development, Master in Architecture (RIBA II) and a MA in Design from NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan, Italy. Mruthyunjaya is based in India and works independently within three areas: research-led writing, exhibitions, and pedagogical development.
In TiO2 Prøvefelt Mruthyunjaya exhibited a work-in-progress booklet of an ongoing research project within Indian context. Her research aims to search for in-between spaces where white titanium dioxide can co-exist with its red iron oxide by-product that is associated with waste. This is one of the first experiments where the red iron oxide was used to create a solvent based ink and screen printed on paper that contains TiO2 (either as fillers or as pigment to enhance its brightness and whiteness).
Material samples from Mruthyunjaya’s work — samples collected from TiO2 factory in Kerala along with printing ink created from red iron oxide, the waste of the titanium dioxide industry.
Ingrid Halland and Mruthyunjaya then traveled to Bergen where they organized the symposium 'White Waste - Crafting Mining Waste in Norway and India through Arts-Based Research' at The Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD), University of Bergen.
The mini-symposium explored how art history and arts-based methods can open new ways of thinking about waste.
We are deeply grateful to 'Global Challenges' at The University of Bergen for supporting Mruthyunjaya's visit to Norway.