Ore Streams is a minimal collection of recycled products created by Amsterdam-based designers Formafantasma. The earth’s surface has been mined for millennia in search of resources such as metals and minerals to fulfil our production demands. In fact, forging metal changed the course of history: bronze empowered humans to weaponise and gold facilitated local and then global trade. Even at this very moment, new cavities are being hollowed out, while existing excavated sites are abandoned or re-filled with new earth—a superficial recompense. Our human greed for metals has grown to such an extent that by 2080, the biggest metal reserves will not be underground. Instead, they will be above the surface as ingots stored in private buildings or otherwise circulated within products such as building materials, appliances, furniture and an ever-growing market of consumer electronic products.
On the surface of our planet, rivers of ore in the form of these discarded materials stream freely as if in a continuous, borderless continent. Efforts to recycle this complex hardware remain new, uncharted and contentious. New logistic structures, technologies and cross-country alliances are being forged to allow for the renewal of metals at the lowest expense. As this shift ensues, the mining industry will be permanently altered. We will enter a new phase, where above-ground scavenging will out-perform and out-value digging below the surface for raw material.
Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and developed over two years, Ore Streams is an ambitious investigation into the recycling of precious electronic waste. The project makes use of diverse media (including objects, video documentation and animation) to address the meaning of production from multiple perspectives, while offering an insight into how design can be an invaluable agent for change.
View more works by Formafantasma