“Conversation Pieces: Art Objects from Rare Earth Elements” presented by Ribeaux


Session Title:

  • Disc*very Channel: Philonature

Presentation Title:

  • Conversation Pieces: Art Objects from Rare Earth Elements




  • Rare Earth Elements have rapidly become pervasive in our modern electronic lives, existing in every touch response screen, laptop, solar cell, and hybrid car. They amplify fiberoptic data transmission and enable precision guided weapons. Though only used in trace amounts, the demand for REEs has increased exponentially due to their far reaching uses and their unique catalytic, magnetic, and phosphorescent properties. Despite this, public knowledge of both the geological and geopolitical realm in which these elements are mined, alchemized, and dispersed is little to none. “Conversation Pieces REEs” prompts the creation of art objects u sing Rare Earth Elements in the form of alloys or powders into wearable art that will spark conversation about the origins, geophiloshophies, environmental ramifications, and uses of Rare Earth Elements that is typically left out of everyday dialogue. There are three types of art objects proposed using recently accessible satellite imagery, 3D sculpting softwares, laser cutting and 3D printing technologies.