As Above, So Below

2017 — Dutch Invertuals
Every year, an estimated 37,000-78,000 tons of stardust is falling down on earth. While bigger meteorites are rare, smaller extraterrestrial dust specs survive the atmospheric entry and land on earth. As terrestrial resources are depleting and rare earth metals are arguably indispensable for our way of life and our survival as a species, we are in dire need of alternatives.

Micrometeorites are at a small scale searched after by scientists as a source of information about the history of the universe and the composition of stars. Yet they have never been considered as a source of matter. ‘As Above, So Below’ explores the potential of micrometeorites as the first rare earth metal from space.

‘Mankind is incapable to end capitalism,
alternatives for matter and mining have to be sought’

— Kirstie van Noort & Xandra van der Eijk

At the same time, crowd mining is proposed as a new method and resource. Finding it impossible to imagine the end of capitalism, mankind has to reinvent it’s purpose as hunter and collector. As precious earth metals and minerals will eventually be scattered over the earth, re-use will gain new meaning.

Urban environments will turn into potential mines and it’s inhabitants will all become mineworkers, roaming their rooftops and gardens in search of specs of potentially valuable dust.


The methodology for finding micrometeorites is based on the fact that many of them are magnetic. On a flat roof, all dirt was collected, dried and put into the oven. As the organic matter burnt, what was left was dust from which magnetic particles could be isolated with a strong magnet. Each and every particle that measured between 0.2 and 0.5 mm, was examined under the microscope.

Part of the project was to prove that meteorite matter can be used as a material. Therefor, a larger meteorite was molten down and shaped into a cubic centimeter. As alien matter has a completely different structure than earth matter, even when it is comprised of the same element, this process was precarious. Luckely we found a collaboration partner willing to take the risk, and the hypothesis was proven.

In collaboration with Kirstie van Noort. Project developed as a response to the exhibition theme ‘Harvest’, Dutch Invertuals 2017.

Exhibition images by Ronald Smits Photography.