As Above, So Below — Design Research

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A material research into crowdmining stardust as a new source for rare earth metals from space


‘Mankind is incapable to end capitalism,
alternatives for matter and mining have to be sought’
— Kirstie van Noort & Xandra van der Eijk

Every year, an estimated 37,000-78,000 tons of stardust is falling down on earth. While bigger meteorites are rare, smaller extraterrestrial dust specs survive the atmospheric entry and land on earth. As terrestrial resources are depleting and rare earth metals are arguably indispensable for our way of life and our survival as a species, we are in dire need of alternatives.

Micrometeorites are at a small scale searched after by scientists as a source of information about the history of the universe and the composition of stars. Yet they have never been considered as a source of matter.  ‘As Above, So Below’ explores the potential of micrometeorites as the first rare earth metal from space.

At the same time, crowd mining is proposed as a new method and resource. Finding it impossible to imagine the end of capitalism, mankind has to reinvent it’s purpose as hunter and collector. As precious earth metals and minerals will eventually be scattered over the earth, re-use will gain new meaning.

Urban environments will turn into potential mines and it’s inhabitants will all become mineworkers, roaming their rooftops and gardens in search of specs of potentially valuable dust.

In collaboration with Kirstie van Noort. Project developed as a response to the exhibition theme ‘Harvest’, Dutch Invertuals 2017.

Exhibition images by Ronald Smits Photography.

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