Alumna Bethany Rigby at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

“Mining the Skies” is an installation by Bethany Rigby (Goldsmiths BA Design 2017) for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition titled “How Will We Live Together?”, curated by Hashim Sarkis.

Situated in the Central Pavilion at the Giardini, the installation is a place of contemplation on the future of extra terrestrial resources. The installation comprises of three amorphous mirrored panels and an arrangement of geological specimens. Each geological specimen relates to current research into extra terrestrial mining, and includes geological simulants from the European Space Agency, metallic meteorites and personal specimens of asteroid mining entrepreneurs and planetary geologists. Etched onto their mirrored panels are morse-code extracts of the Outer Space Treaty, Moon Agreement and US Space Act that relate to the ownership of extra terrestrial resources.

As a whole, the arrangement is a map of the local sites allocated for extra terrestrial mining. The room is a dark, quiet place of reflection on humankind’s use of geological matter for its own advancement, and a contemplation on the future commodification of outer space.

The Architecture Biennale has been two years in the making, having been postponed for one year since its original opening date in May 2020. The 17th International Architecture Exhibition includes 112 participants from 46 countries, with a growing delegation from Africa, Latin America and Asia and with a wide female representation. The Exhibition is organized into five scales, three are exhibited in the Arsenale and two in the Central Pavilion: Among Diverse Beings, As New Households, As Emerging Communities, Across Borders, As One Planet.

Bethany Rigby is a designer and writer based in London, whose practice investigates emerging technologies and ancient histories relevant to the ground beneath us and space above us. She is the youngest invited participant in the 17th International Architecture Exhibition. She has also contributed to Future Assembly by Studio Other Spaces (founded by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann), an exhibition within the 17th Architecture Exhibition. She has written for Migrant Journal, Ernest Journal and feeeels magazine, alongside her personal essays and newsletter. She has undertaken residencies with the Land Art Agency on the sustainability of outer space, and An L’anntair on remote landscapes and the island of St Kilda.

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