Tierras raras

María García Ruiz

Tierras raras [Rare-earth elements] mark the materiality of our time. This group of metals, taking its name because they were difficult to describe at the time they were discovery, are present in almost all the technological devices that define our everyday lifes: from the screens of cell phones to the batteries of electric cars. Key components of an increasingly digitized world, rare-earth elements are the leitmotif of this video essay, which develops through an attentive vision of the author's original land, unravling a poetic reflection on the landscape and the gaze that shapes it.

In the midst of landscapes linked to intimacy, satellite images of the world's largest rare-earth elements mine emerge, in their own digital materiality with an almost pictorial quality, showing the delicate relationship between beauty and destruction. In turn, Campo de Montiel appears as a strange land, from the shadows of depopulation, threatened by possible rare-earth elements mine that could lead to its complete devastation. Strangeness is the sensation that accompanies us from Bayan Obo, in China, to the plateau of La Mancha.

Let us not forget that estrangement is the essential condition of any landscape. The gaze that turns to a place to which it no longer belongs and which it barely recognizes, that observes that the other that is not itself; that gaze arises from a process of separation. The distance generated by our gaze on the world is a dangerous zone inhabited by ghosts with the capacity to create new realities. That way of looking, the one that generates the technologies of the territory, but also memories and emotions, can be creative, but also lethal.

Tierras raras is the portrait of an exterior: the plateau, but also of a personal interior crossed by that dry landscape; and a crack, a wound, or a mine that mark the transition from one to the other. An unfinished search, an impossible displacement that, like a Moebius strip, always ends up confusing the inside with the outside.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Tierras raras
  • Direction: María García Ruiz
  • Production: 2019.
  • Duration: 00:28:23
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Original format: Quicktime
  • Formats: HD 1920x1080