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The Iron Blow

Part 2 Project 2013
Anthony Parsons
University of Newcastle Newcastle Australia
The Iron Blow, located at an abandoned copper mine on the outskirts of Queenstown in the West Cost Ranges of Tasmania, is imagined as a destination that humans momentarily inhabit to prepare their journeys into outer space. While occupying this place, one experiences the fundamental barriers that accompany outer space travel, including the physical, psychological and temporal constraints that the universe exerts upon the human race.

Over the past century, the combination of human abuse and the copius amounts of rainfall the area receives, the entire surroundings of Queenstown have become an environmental catastrophe, resulting in a desolate ‘moonscape’ of the entire place. In 2012, the site of the Iron Blow has become a large weeping wound in a valley surrounded by large mountains, and has been left untouched and un-revitalised since the cease of mining operations. Ironically, this abuse combined with the adverse alpine conditions the area faces, the place has become a place of beauty. The buildings inserted into this site reflect this abusive beauty.

The buildings manipulate time, sound, materials and the climate to mimic the temporal decay of the site. For example, upon entering the training centre, series of copper chalices hang about the room in a state of limbo. The chalices are operated by brass grandfather clock escapements, using water wheels in lieu of pendulums. The escapements fill the chalices with water until the chalice becomes full and reaches the bottom where the chalice triggers and releases the water. As the chalice releases the water the chalice becomes lighter, spraying the water along a wall of copper. The wall of copper has banks of nipples which touch a 430 stainless steel panel and allow the water to leak onto the steel. This selected steel is lower on the nobility scale than copper, which will cause the steel to actively rust. The environment dictates how fast the chalices are filled, by using the direction of the wind to manipulate the amount of water entering the drip tanks that move the escapements allowing the building to corrode in a manner that can be read from the environment.

Anthony Parsons


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