Mirko Nikolic: The Lives of Metals

Multimedia project, 2015-2016

Metals are the inner skeleton or infrastructure of our societies and our technologies. We live in deeply metallic naturecultures, and even our bodies are “walking, talking minerals” (Vladimir Vernadsky). Hence we are wired, internally and externally, with ‘metallic lives’, yet the dynamics of this intimate dependency is sometimes quite opaque, comprehensively blackboxed, offshored, invisibilised...

Computers and mobile phones are made of hundreds of chemical compounds, comprising dozens of metals and rare earths. In other words, each information and communications technology device is a tiny mine. Millions of years of ‘nonlinear history’ of the Earth are compressed into chips that run trades on scale of nanoseconds. As we are acting on geological scale, the atmosphere has not remained intact either. We are in the middle of anthropogenic global warming, and one of the ways to overturn this scenario is, as Naomi Klein exclaims, to “keep stuff in the ground,” and not only the notorious oil and shale gas. Mineral mining that underpins ICT can equally be damaging on social and environmental levels (e.g., ‘coltan wars’ in Congo, massive spill in Mexico, etc. etc.) The workings of the IT companies share a few traits with mining industry, not only a common mineral base, but certain logics too. Let’s think about ‘big data’, or ‘data mining’. continue reading

- mirko nikolic 

The Lives of Metals is mirko nikolic's long term art and research project that he has been working on in Frontiers residencies at HIAP and KC GRAD. It consist of multiple projects, embodying multiple medias such as websites, performances and installations.

we ❤ copper & copper ❤ us copper comes home mirko nikolic