Artists Mathew Moore (Phoenix) and Clare Patey (London) collaborate on a project centered on the issue of endangered elements in the periodic table, specifically copper. Copper plays a major role in Arizona’s history and in its current economic, environmental and cultural life. Cu²⁹ will explore the process of staking a claim, the idea of owning the Earth’s natural resources, and our dependence on copper for everything from saucepans to cellphones.
The artists’ company, Copper United, will have its corporate headquarters in the museum gallery, where a massive three-dimensional periodic table will double as seating. Artworks from the ASU Art Museum’s collection, together with objects and their stories collected from the community, will trace the extraction of copper from the ground to its use by artists in their studios, electricians and plumbers in houses, and chefs in their kitchens.
With these installations, the artists tackle issues of resource scarcity and the need to change patterns of human consumption. They point toward and demonstrate solutions like closed loop recycling and mining the urban environment. The project will be accompanied by programs co-hosted by ASU departments. The artists are collaborating with ASU students and faculty from the School of Art, the Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and students from Marcos di Niza High School in Tempe on research, installations and information in the galleries.