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Sequential Lithium

Chris Parschalk

Lithium is one of the 118 elements in our universe and a basic building block of our material world. Although lithium traces can be commonly found across the planet, the places of higher concentration are uncommon and unique. As more of our mobile technologies call for the use of battery power, we find an increased demand for lithium, a soft alkali metal that holds an electrical charge extremely well. All areas where lithium has a commercial concentration are potential sites of extraction., Where mining operations occur, land is subject to socioecological disruption and the destruction of the local environment is almost certain.
“Sequential Lithium” traces the phenomena of lithium on Earth through sequential art and a fictional narrative. Situated in Silver Peak, Nevada, the graphic novel introduces four characters whose paths are woven together by the presence of lithium. In the story, Albemarle expands its current lithium extraction operations at the Silver Peak Mine. The narrative of “Sequential Lithium” adheres to current expectations regarding Silver Peak and lithium use, picking up real world conditions, but then departing from current scenarios through the fictional characters and plot.
“Sequential Lithium” focuses on the land itself, lithium on and in Earth, the effects of mining, and what remediation of such lands might become. Though, readers are invited to extract and process multiple meanings, ideas, and interests from the setting. This active engagement with the work, with scenes and figures described or left unnoted, is instrumental in reflecting the abstract reach and sublime power of lithium. The panels are typically perspective views with a density of detail, settings that readers are prompted to investigate visually. Outside the panels within the margin-space, readers find in-depth text information. Illustrated diagrams and hybridized conventional architectural drawings support and expand on the narrative of the story.
Blair, a “ghost” town about one mile northwest of Silver Peak is all but eroded. When the quality of the gold ore declined, the inhabitants of Blair left. They had no purpose there other than mining. When the lithium from Silver Peak is depleted, when the mining operations cease, what will become of this place? How might a land that was once tarnished become a land that thrives? Through this graphic novel, readers are able to explore how lithium is not simply a substance for energy storage, but a generator of future stories, spaces, lives, and landscapes.

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Sequential Lithium is a graphic novel set near Silver Peak, Nevada. It explores the power of lithium both as an increasingly in demand energy storage technology, and as a generator of stories, spaces, lives and landscapes.



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