One of them, 2012
Shelf, 10 cm diameter ball of Yttrium, inkjet print on A3 paper mounted on aluminium
Inspired by a Chinese invention from 132 AD with which earthquakes could be accurately predicted through the use of spheres of certain minerals, Pratchaya Phinthong has created an installation using Yttrium, a rare element used in manufacturing high-tech objects like at screens and batteries.
China owns more than 90% of the world market in rare earth elements and uses this economic power to political ends.
The sculpture is accompanied by a photograph taken by the global imaging satellite ASTER, run by Japan and the USA, of the largest rare earth mine in Chinese Mongolia, the Bayan Obo mine.
Pratchaya Phinthong plays on correspondences, causing the geopolitical sphere to slide towards the more sensual one of an art installation, highlighting with it an existing and ever-changing economy coming from the guts of the earth.