With ‘Vital Mud’, Dutch artist Hiske Altena explores the theory that life on Earth once began in clay. In the 1980s, her uncle, now a retired geologist, found an unusual stone that rattled. Within this stone, he discovered organic-looking structures which he could not easily explain using existing geological theories. The so-called “clay hypothesis”, however, seemed to offer a better explanation. This is the basis on which Altena builds a collection of images intended to shift our perspective, prompting a re-examination of the evolution of early life forms and the capabilities of humans themselves. In the process, she reminds us that science is a continuous search for the unknown.