From 1932 until 1973, monazite sands--likely mined from alluvial deposits in the streams and rivers of Idaho and the Carolinas and along the coasts of Florida and Georgia—were brought to the Rare Earths Facility in the City of West Chicago, IL. Initially operated by the Lindsay Light and Chemical Company, it would close under Kerr-McGee, an Oklahoma-based company that made its name with the first commercial offshore oil rig. In its 40 years of operation, the facility was used to extract thorium from mined sands and other ores for lighting elements and national atomic research. "Discovered" by a Norwegian mineralogist and named for the Norse god Thor by a Swedish chemist, Thorium has a half-life of over 14 billion years.
With RR04, artist and researcher Patrick Lichty invites us to meditate on an imagined encounter between the artifacts of a "discovered" culture and the unruly properties of an atomized and renamed earth.
RR04 consists of a glow-in-the-dark, 3D printed object and two postcards
On Sunday, June 2, 2013, RR and Patrick Lichty will lead a field trip to the former Rare Earths Facility in West Chicago and related sites in Warrenville. We will conclude the trip with a stop at the Two Brothers Tap House in Warrenville.
If you would like to join us, please contact us at contact (at) regionalrelationships.org.