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A Transplanetary Comparative History
of Metallurgical Exchange


Edition of 17

Each book comes with:

- one sample of the 17 Rare Earth Elements in a vacuum sealed ampoule
[pictured here: #2/17 “Yttrium”]

- one Arctic air sample collected by the artist from CFS ALERT that has also been sealed in a glass ampule.

Commissioned work by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary.

Photo: Jens Ziehe , courtesy the Studio Stankievrech and TBA21    



Anbarium takes the fundamental premise of mining on earth from the perspective of an alien intelligence. Reversing the origin myth that the gods should be worshipped as those who bequeath metals from heaven in the form of meteorites, this narrative presents the earth as a mining colony for resource extraction by extraterrestrial life. The centerpiece of the work is a uniquely designed book that unfolds from a hexagon pattern to include a variety of nonlinear strategies to tell the story, including excerpts from the master of golden age science fiction writing H.P. Lovecraft, documentation of the artist burying a meteorite at the northernmost settlement on earth (at a military spy station in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago), as well as satellite photography from other Rare Earth Mining landscapes. Other research in the book interweaves archival documentation and contemporary contextualization to explore the issues of military colonization, technology manufacturing, land use, art history, indigenous politics, meteorite cults, exploration history and the sublime landscape—all repeating motifs in Stankievech’s work. The title of the work is a fictional element, Anbarium, that comes from the ancient Summerian term for the first metal, an-bar (translated as “fire”-“sky”). Within the fiction, anbarium is the undiscovered 18th Rare Earth Element that no longer is found on the planet earth since it was either exhausted as a resource from alien mining millennia ago or was a proto-element that through time has decomposed into the current table of elements.

The multiple is designed as using a hexagonal origami and binding system, protected by a laser etched titanium cover. The book opens and closes using rare earth magnets.

A commission by TBA21 for the exhibition Rare Earth (2015). The first edition is also in the TBA21 collection.


Exhibition Catalogue with documentation of Installation and essay by Stankievech
"Magnetic Anomalies in the Arctic Colonial Resource Extraction, Meteoric Cults, and the Rare Earth Age" (Sternberg Press / MIT Press).
Download PDF here.
Buy Print here.