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Rare Earth


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An exhibition catalog that explores how today’s myths, identities, and cosmologies relate to current technology while challenging the rhetoric of immateriality.

Rare earth elements are the game-changing foundation of our most powerful innovations—mobile phones, iPods and iPads, liquid crystal displays, LEDs, light bulbs, CDs and DVDs. Often described as conflict materials due to the limited number of accessible mines, they are also integral to cyber-warfare weapon systems, medical technologies, hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, and green energy applications. Consequently, rare earth elements play an increasing role in global affairs and facilitate our changing self-image.

Rare Earth grounds our strange, seemingly weightless cultural moment, bringing together seventeen “elements”—work by 10 artists and 7 theorists including artists Camille Henrot, The Otolith Group, Ai Weiwei, sociologist and design theorist Benjamin H. Bratton, Finnish new media theorist Jussi Parikka and political theorist Jane Bennett, among others.

Edited by Boris Ondreička & Nadim Samman

Designed by David Rudnick and Raf Rennie

Published by Sternberg Press and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna

272 pages, 12 b/w and 107 color illustrations, hardcover with cloth binding [2 lb 2 oz]

ISBN 978-3-95679-144-4