Take a Good Lamp

Van Balen, Tuur and Cohen, Revital. 2016. Take a Good Lamp. Cultural Politics, 12(3), pp. 332-338. ISSN 1743-2197 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen (www.cohenvanbalen.com) have investigated the multiple materialities, modes of production, and long networks of contemporary technological culture in many of their installation and film works. This has ranged from work with bioengineering (Sterile) to work with the rare earth minerals and metals that form the backbone of contemporary media. In works such as H/AlCuTaAu and the later D/AlCuNdAu, they remediated the existing chemical elements of electronics and data centers into an odd sort of hybrid art-installation object; in 75 Watt, they investigated the long production networks of another sort of real, and yet imaginary, object as part of its production chain, producing a weird choreography of imaginary technology becoming a consumer product. Recently they embarked on a field trip to Congo, one that served both as artistic research and as a performance of returning some of the minerals back to the soil. The following text is a short excerpt from their travel diary: a meditation on a geography of the travels of minerals—the materials of media culture—as part of the postcolonial landscapes. From the microscopic dust returning to the soil, to the experience of gaining access to the mines, their images tell a backstory to the quiet colonial histories of media culture, now enhanced by the presence of global corporations from the ex-colonies and by newcomers from China.
The images shown here are from their field trip and from art projects such as H/AlCuTaAu and D/AlCuNdAu.
—Jussi Parikka

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coltan, tantalum, mining, postcolonial, DR Congo, China, extractivism, production, material, supply chain, gadget, desire, consumption

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1 November 2016Published
20 July 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

03 Jun 2020 11:07

Last Modified:

13 Jun 2021 07:04

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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