Each of our small acts of consumerism is the final stage of a long choreography through which landscapes are displaced, dispersed and deposited in foreign places. More matter is shifted around the planet through human activity than is moved by the force of all rivers, glaciers oceans or wind combined. Rare earth minerals extracted from Chinese fields, are refined into cosmetics, painted on faces for one wild night and then washed down the drains of London apartments to collect in sand banks downstream.
In the Division’s Bureau of Rare Earthworks Harry has conjured Jīngjù-on-Sea, a Peking Opera that performs an act of consumerism on a huge scale. Echoing the quantities and trajectories of the existing rare earth mineral supply chain, thousands of tonnes of earth are removed from the central Chinese landscape, and through the tools of the opera - as makeup, costume and set - are brought to London to be deposited in the Thames Estuary. Here, in the final Act, the ‘Dan’ [旦]; the embodiment of the refined rare earth oxide, launches herself into the Thames. The opera is a planetary scale performance that is played out every day; dictated by the beat of international supply of demand, forming a new land in the North Sea, act by act, scene by scene.


The opera is caught on film as each scene is played out without an intended audience. From the plains of central china to the mud of the estuary the dance is revealed.

Collated Geologies

The products we consume hold within them distant geologies and territories of places whose earth contains the desirable pastel shade of makeup.


Our relationship to these places is intimate and physical; we smear their earth on our faces for one night, to cover our insecurities and hide our fears; and then wash it away.


The supply chain of these materials becomes a choreography for the world's largest Peking Opera, Jingju-on-Sea

Supply Chain/ Opera Renditions

The phases of the supply chain, mining, material processing, shipping and consumption are turned into a functional spectacle.

The Making of the Jing

The supply chain is personified in the characters of the opera and their costumes. Here the pattern for the Jing's costume is used for cutting the cloth for his gown.

Setting the Scene

The actress and the costume is filmed in front of a green screen and overlaid onto the designed set.

Moving Material

The supply chain, the Jing, takes the sacks of Chinese earth in his grip and forces them on to the refinery.

Loading the Set

The many Dan climb the booms of the worlds largest theatre set at Yantian Port. They hang from the mechanical rigs by their silk sleeves.


The Dan has been used and discarded in the city. As all Chinese earth she has found her way to the river.