Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

These Are the Rare and Precious Metals Mined From Inside Old Electronics

Illustration for article titled These Are the Rare and Precious Metals Mined From Inside Old Electronics

You've surely heard that inside your iPhone, TV, and power drill sit fragments of valuable metals, and that our hunger for new gadgets is depleting the world of its very limited supply. But you've probably never actually seen those chips of gold or tantalum. Well, here they are.

Advertisement

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen are London-based artists who frequently delve into global industrial production (see: a choreographed dance performance in a Chinese electronics factory). Their latest piece, H / AlCuTaAu, follows that thread even further into the manufacturing process. In this case, the duo snapped up a load of old electronics, from computers to machinery, from a factory that had gone bankrupt.

Illustration for article titled These Are the Rare and Precious Metals Mined From Inside Old Electronics
Advertisement

Then, they disassembled these devices and "reverse engineered" the process of building them, gleaning shards and fragments of the rare earth metals and precious metals embedded in their electronic guts.

The finished product is a new artificial ore, "constructed out of gold (Au), copper (Cu), tantalum (Ta), aluminium (Al) and whetstone" taken from inside the gadgetry. Though the artists are mum about it on their website, we've reached out for more information.

Illustration for article titled These Are the Rare and Precious Metals Mined From Inside Old Electronics
Illustration for article titled These Are the Rare and Precious Metals Mined From Inside Old Electronics
Advertisement

It's both fascinating and strange to see the minerals and metals that we've heard so much about laid bare—there's an odd kind of cognitive dissonance in knowing that these random bits of metal are the focus of so much global strife. [Creative Applications]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

interns
RainyDayInterns

"...But you've probably never actually seen those chips of gold..."

Funny you would say that, as that was one of the things we really wanted to check when we had the GoldXpert in house for a day: http://www.rainydaymagazine.com/RDM2012/Home/F…

Turns out...the back of the chip WAS coated w/ 24 carat gold!