Ile De Re France | 2006

This documentary focuses on the increased value that an industrial material can gain through its cultural context. 

Ile de Re is known for production of Fleur de Sel, a high-grade artisanal food salt. The island has a series of trenches and ponds shaped out of the natural clays and mud from the ground, allowed to flood at high tide by the simple removal of wooden shakes damming the canal system. This facility fully taps the natural solar tidal processes to produce salt with no petroleum inputs. 

The stunningly picturesque landscape is operated by individual harvesters, using traditional methods of raking the surface of the ponds. The hand-crafted product is appreciated for its embodiment of the natural harvesting process, tremendously amplifying the cost of the salt. As a  result, the industrial landscape has become a tourist destination. This is particularly interesting juxtaposed with a very similar harvesting process with dramatically different cultural significance in the Sambhar salt ponds of India. 

Sponsored by: 
Harvard University Druker Research Fellowship