fbpx Biennale Architettura 2021 | Bethany Rigby
La Biennale di Venezia

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Bethany Rigby

Mining the Skies

  • TUE - SUN
    22/05 > 31/07
    11 AM - 7 PM

    01/08 > 21/11
    10 AM  - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Bethany Rigby (British, b.1995)



Mining the Skies examines three different strands of extraterrestrial resource uses. First, the mining of resources to bring back for use on Earth, such as rare metals; second ISRU research and development (In Situ Resource Utilization) where materials are extracted in space and processed for use on location; and third for planetary science research missions where we seek to recover samples in order to discover new truths of our universe. Each of these has differing values and challenges, all contributing to the evolving discourse surrounding extraterrestrial commodification and sovereignty legislation. Encoded within the work are the feasibility and value of each resource, the Outer Space and Moon Treaties (1967 and 1979), and the US Space Act (2015). Untangling these complexities forces us to confront the shortcomings of our mining practices on Earth, consider our global geological dependencies, and strive for a wiser use of resources.

Biennale Sneak Peek

Image 1 – How will we live together?
The anthropocenic tendencies of humankind and its pursuit of natural resources shape how we live and the Earth itself. The acts of digging, drilling and extracting are synonymous with advancements across the ages. Stone, bronze, iron, oil. Turning skywards, towards Space; these activities continue. Lunar, asteroid and planetary sites are increasingly being explored as mining prospects, whether for retrieval and delivery back to Earth, planetary science missions or ISRU (In situ resource utilisation.) Unlike terrestrial resources, these new territories as yet have no definitive regulations. International treaties, bills and laws overlap or contradict one another – calling into question whether Outer Space is global commons or a private commodity. Despite this; the potential of these sites accelerates scientific research, sharing this knowledge across continents and uncovering more about Earth’s place amongst other cosmic geographies.

This project uses the lens of extra terrestrial mining prospects to reframe and reflect on humakind’s pursuit, ownership and sharing of resources, both here on Earth and beyond. 


Image 2 – Sneak peek of the project
A sculptural display of geological material relating to extra-terrestrial resource extraction and research within the field of planetary geology. The arrangement of the specimens acts as a cartographic record of current extra-terrestrial targets and territories.

With the additional support of

Freelands Foundation
British Council

Production credits

Thompson Mineral Sample Loans: European Space Agency Exploration Sample Analogue Collection, Asteroid Mining Corporation
Additional Research Development Credit: Dayl Martin, European Space Agency, Melissa Roth, Vince Roux, Off Planet Research, Mitch Hunter Scullion, Joel Burkin, Asteroid Mining Corporation, Laszlo Kestay, USGS, Kevin Cannon, University of Central Florida, John Pernet-Fisher, University of Manchester
With Many Thanks to: Andrew Weatherhead, Martin Conreen, Goldsmiths University of London

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura