In this project I have explored practices around the critical raw material cobalt, it’s history, and current relevance in Swedish discourse. As the demand for cobalt grows due to it’s application in rechargeable batteries in our smartphones, laptops and electric cars, the metal is predicted to become scarce in a near future.
An artistic practice of working with stoneware clay, became an unearthing that allowed me to explore new ways to relate to the material, to embody its stories. Stories of a metal which moves across different cultural and historical materialities, shaping our everyday objects and the lives involved in its unearthing:
from electronics to elegantly painted ceramic tiles, and to the hand dug cobalt mines of Congo.
The result of a critical design process is the speculative find of remnants of the cobelt: a creature believed to have inhabited mines of 16th century Europe, and eventually giving the material cobalt its name. By giving the material a body, a shape, of its own, can we start to relate to it differently? With curiosity? With caution?