Against the Grain presents a unique look at the intricate connections between our comprehensive use of computer technologies and the environmental consequences this industry has for our planet. The central focus is on the mining of rare earth minerals, raw materials needed for the production of any type of electronic gadget, mobile device and computer. The book documents the journey and work of Danish artists Anu Ramdas and Christian Danielewitz, who have travelled to the industrial town of Baotou - the epicenter of the Chinese mining industry, in Inner Mongolia. Here they have created photographic works on location, using radioactive material from the gigantic tailings dam Weikuang, situated on the outskirts of the city. Weikuang Dam is a nightmare landscape, which has formed as a result of the ruthless hunt for rare earth elements.
Combined with background stories of Ramdas and Danielewitz’s artistic endeavors, and the mesmerizing images they have produced, Against the Grain presents the reader with two essays concerning the darker aspects of our current visual culture and the challenge posed to artists, who wants to work with this difficult subject and stay in pursuance of an alternative visual strategy of documentation.
Against the Grain is a thought-provoking contribution to the ongoing debate about the age of the Anthropocene combined with an original artistic treatment of this very important subject.
AGAINST THE GRAIN
Christian Danielewitz & Anu Ramdas
Editor: Peter Ole Pedersen
Layout: Mathias Kokholm
Print: Specialtrykkeriet Viborg