I came across Dane Mitchell's "Cosmic dust collection (Extraterrestrial Smithereens)" almost by accident. Taking a day out from my schedule as a guest of the International Academic Program of the Onggi Ceramics Expo in Ulsan, South Korea, my Korean interpreter and I drove to Busan, and the Busan Museum of Art, to see the 2010 Busan Biennale. Mitchell's rooftop installation was almost completely hidden from view behind another artist's refective laser-cut vinyl work covering most of the windows and door leading to the rooftop courtyard. Catching a glimpse of a row of 7 satellite dishes arranged on the rooftop terrace warranted closer inspection; and I was glad I stopped to investigate.
Elsewhere in the Busan Museum of Art Mitchell presented a sample of space dust from a French research institute, and several further satellite dishes collecting space dust in the gallery space.
Dane Mitchell said in an interview that he is interested in producing work that might be experienced as a faint echo. Indeed, this kind of material and this kind of action spreads itself (sculpturally) thin — disrupting and interrupting proceedings. For sure the notion of emptiness lends itself to being read wryly. On the roof terrace of the city museum, satellite dishes worked to collect some of the 40,000 tons of near imperceptible physical material that falls through earth’s atmosphere each year. The work makes use of a very simple technology [developed by scientist Dr Ken Farley] utilizing rare earth magnets submerged in water that collect IDPs, which are magnetic through being rich in iron.