Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen. Diamond Ring. 2017
Revital Cohen: I’m Revital Cohen.
Revital Cohen: And I’m Tuur Von Balen.
Cohen: We're an artist duo based in London working with objects, installations, film, and processes.
Von Balen: You’re seeing our interpretation of a diamond engagement ring.
Cohen: And the diamond is made from the carbon that we collected after burning a tusk of an elephant's ivory.
Von Balen: The diamond is tilted on its side referencing the ourobouros, which is an alchemy symbol of a snake eating its own tail. This project is a continuation of a long investigation we've been doing around natural resources that have in many ways shaped the conditions of Central Africa and of Congo in particular.
Cohen: It has a lot to do with theories that elephants are being poached on purpose as a form of financial speculation to make ivory reserves worth more.
Von Balen: We see an analogy in the way that both the value of diamonds and the value of ivory is created through artificial scarcity. Scarcity in the case of diamonds is very historic and it comes through the slogan “Diamonds are Forever,” an attempt at preventing people from selling diamonds because it would increase the supply and value would decrease.
Cohen: We were very interested in diamond as a material that's gained its value due to the campaign that diamonds are forever, connecting diamonds to the idea of the engagement ring. By making this diamond out of an elephant's tusk, a species which is about to become extinct, we wanted to create a future fossil that will question all these concepts of forever, of natural, artificial, of value, of perhaps lack of value and bring them all into this object.