• Words

    Nik Baerten

  • Images

    Benjamin Sporken

Thomas Pausz, critical designer, Icelandic Academy of the Arts, Reykjavik, IJsland

Airmining (noun): chemical filtration method allowing the capturing and separation of precious substances from air (see also watermining & soilmining).

“It had taken the local community – all descendants from former mining immigrants – and a team of biochemists nearly five years to fine-tune the aerograbber. Now, three years later the devices – most of them equipped with a so-called vapar or vapor-radar – can be seen all across the country, sieving the air as if hunting for butterflies. Everything from precious metals to biobricks for use in the popular synthetic biology design communities, were being pulled out of thin air. Although the aerograbbing craze had generated entirely new value chains, not everybody was happy with the breakthrough. Some industries were actually claiming that any valuable substances in their exhaust fumes – which had polluted the air for decades – were their property, slowly pushing some aerograbbers to take their efforts into international airspace using microdrones.”