Gerrit Kaiser

Particle Economy

In a resource-starved future where “natural” deposits are depleted, how will we gather vital raw materials? Are there options other than recycling as we know it? Perhaps volcanic eruptions, industrial pollution, oil spills and toxic clouds won’t be viewed as ecological disasters but as economical opportunities. Using advances in biotechnology, geoengineering and robotics, harvesting the extremely diluted minerals scattered all around us might become viable.
This project explores these issues on a large scale, both in time and space. By extrapolating on current science and technology, it proposes a series technical and economical systems that might have emerged in the future to deal with the changed material reality of natural resource. These include:

  • large-scale stationary horizontal structures in and around urban and industrial designed to catch airborne particles
  • submarine “farms” in river estuaries, aiming to collect and salvage runoff
  • vast artificial flood-plains acting as sediment basins, full of microorganisms designed to aggregate rare and useful materials for later harvest
  • fleets of mobile equipment such as toxic-cloud-gathering flying drones or electrostatic precipitators to filter avalanches of volcanic ash that are deployed in disaster zones and after accidents to maximise the amount of recovered materials
Who might design, build and own these systems? How will the power structure of this world differ from ours? How will it affect wealth distribution and geography? What will the political systems underpinning that society be like?

Measured Behaviour
Midas Microbes
Make–up Machine

Future landscapes shaped by resource gathering systems
Future landscapes shaped by resource gathering systems