Mineral Myths: Architectural Supply Chains


How might we better understand the global ecology of material flows? How might we begin to assemble an imaginary of resource extraction relative to our everyday material encounters? Far from the space of our personal interactions with material systems, the extended network of primary extraction, processing, refinement, manufacturing, distribution and consumption and abandon or recycling produces an expansive territory. 

This work, undertaken as part of RVTR’s contribution to the EXTRACTION project, commissioned by Pierre Bélanger and OPSYS for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale begins to unpack these questions.

While the EXTRACTION project exhibited in Venice became much more focused on Canada’s role as a post-colonial empire of extraction with specific focus on Gold, the preliminary research examined a global footprint across a lexicon of materials.

A series of data visualizations were produced to introduce and contextualize this materially expansive apprehension of national identity, reinterpreting various iconic Canadian artifacts through the lens of a material derivation.

For the selected materials of Al, Cu, C, G, Ni, K, S, and U, we began to assemble visual narratives around each material context bridging geographic, historic, cultural and economic dimensions. The images illustrating these narratives are drawn from corporate marketing, advertising and annual reports of publicly traded companies across the supply chain.

Our interest in this line of thinking remains on going, and the original research activities undertaken for EXTRACTION are a work in progress currently being investigated and advanced towards a new project: The Global Atlas of Extraction.