DUST WARNING (Does Albemarle know about this?) is a project that considers our dependency on the metal lithium. Lithium is the lightest metal on Earth and an unseen material in most of our electronic devices. Lithium is critical to our consumption and creation of digital media. It is fundamental to the advancement of renewable energy technology to combat climate change, with the capacity to store wind and solar energy and power electric cars. Lithium is also a mood stabilizer in the treatment of bipolar disorder and manic depression. The project draws attention to the tension between a seemingly “green” raw material that is destructive to land, ecosystems, and people.
There is only one active lithium mine in the United States—the Silver Peak mine in Thacker Pass, Nevada—operated by the multinational mining corporation, Albemarle. By staging a performance at an estranged symbol of corporate power—the boardroom table—the work is a critique of extractive capitalism, and offers a playful alternative to internal and external landscapes where capital is felt but not seen.