THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
Fonderie Darling, Montreal, Quebec.
During my residency in the Darling Fonderie, I received an invitation by the TSMC (Tata Steel and Minerals Canada) for visiting the iron ore-mining site at Labrador, Newfoundland. It’s a newly established iron ore mining camp bordering Schefferville mining town. The Schefferville town is located in the northern most tip of Quebec and is the land of the Naskapi and Innu first nation inhabitants. Subarctic climate of Schefferville makes road connectivity impossible and the only rail route connects the town once in a week based the climatic condition. The only convenient connection to the town is through flight via Quebec.
The surrounding stretch of land from Schefferville is rich in mineral deposits. The construction and establishment of the mining camp is a challenging task in the area. Due to extreme climatic conditions and limited human population, most of the task is entrusted on heavy machinery and equipment. The first visit to the mining camp was mainly focused on familiarising and giving a first hand experience of the mining process. The visit involved briefing about the landscape and the different stages of mining with guided trips to the mining facilities with experts. Based on the experience of the locale and the environment TSMC offered me the privilege of proposing and developing a project on the site.
The vast expanse of space on the flat landscape is the most fascinating character of the site. The illusion of the horizon appearing and disappearing at times gives a dreamlike experience.
The mining process at the site is an interesting intervention, which inspired my response in the form of several ideas. An interesting discovery on the visit to the site was a small and the only hill in the region called “Irony Mountain”. The metaphor in the hill name has a peculiar significance in relation with the changing landscape.
The act of building or constructing and mining or excavating itself is an interesting way of looking at the process. The progress both way on and in the surface of the landscape can be seen as addition vs. subtraction. The flatness generates a sense of absence in the space. The idea of introducing an artificial light to a natural landscape itself signifies presence.
Looking and understanding the process of mining also inspired the way forms evolve on a particular site. The interesting aspect of mining is the survey and mapping the land. The role of the survey officer is very crucial, as they have to demarcate the exact location using the GPS mapping device. The data is collected and analysed on software that converts digital information into three-dimensional graphical maps. Based on the analysis of the survey officers the mining work progress.
The development of the pits has a very irregular evolution. The pits are named randomly with numbers. But identifying the pit with a particular name like people, object and place is one of the proposed interventions. Idea of name makes us more receptive to the change happening to a pit as the pit itself posses a living presence in our mind.
Medium:Site-specifixc Light interventions, Variable sizes.