Mapping Aluminum

This series of relief sculptures is cast in the standard dimensions of a Rand McNally map. Each work represents a different site around the world where bauxite mining, aluminum processing, and aluminum smelting has caused environmental problems.

Damage to local ecosystems, harm to local constituency groups, and evidence of illegal mining operations are represented using molds of crushed aluminum cans. The title of each work refers to a specific site where these negative externalities are manifest.

Locations represented so far include the Saint Lawrence River in Massena, NY, the Simandou Mountain Range in Guinea, and Ajka in Veszprém County, Hungary.

I discuss the works extensively in an interview with curator Nikoo Paydar that appeared in Artl@s Bulletin in 2019: “Ozga signals the familiar functions of aluminum in our everyday lives by retaining the visible vestiges of soda can shapes. She invites the viewer to recognize this aluminum she is sculpting as reused, melted down, and transformed, still bearing marks of its previous lunchtime function. In the interview she states that although aluminum is ‘the 2nd most-used metal on the planet (after Iron) and among the most recycled, and we rarely think about where the aluminum can that we order with lunch comes from, and where it will go once the meal is over.'”

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