Selma Selman
Platinum, 2021

Platinum is a multimedia work based on the fact that discarded scrap metal contains

a value society recognizes as exceptional – precious metals, especially platinum,

located in car’s catalytic converters. In a performance spanning over several weeks,

my team finds the wreckages of cars, prepares them for installation, and delivers them

to the gallery. Together we mechanically remove the converters and their contents in

which dirt and platinum are mixed. Then, in cooperation with a chemical engineer, a

complex process of platinum extraction from this content is being carried out. In the

end, in cooperation with a goldsmith, shapes the extracted platinum into a

paradoxically doubly “precious” object – a platinum axe. The object is indeed precious

for me because it is the fundamental tool for my family’s survival and sustenance, as

well as my own work. But, finally, it is also precious in the way the average spectator

sees it – as a treasured object like a sculpture or jewellery – even when it is clear that

its content is nothing but the presented car waste and the work invested in turning

such waste into value.