KISCO China Belval Luxembourg
The weight of iron carried from China for you – commissioned by BeHave, curators Stephanie Delcroix and Michael Pinsky on behalf of Fonds Belval, Luxembourg 2015 / 2016.Neville Gabie was commissioned with nine other international artists to make a new work in response to the former iron and steel production site in Belval, Southern Luxembourg. Developed out of a four month residency, the intention was to make a new work which responded to the site as it is being transformed from it’s industrial past to the location for a Luxembourg’s University.
An audio installation for the site of a former Blast furnace; ‘During my residency I kept on being drawn back to the derelict concrete foundations of what I knew was once the base of an iron furnace. It was inaccessible, but if you climbed your way in the circular space of the furnace and the view of the sky where it would have stood, gave one a very powerful sense of the past. But beyond that there was little information to be found. In my research I discovered that this particular furnace was sold to China and immediately thoughts came crashing into my mind. Who took it to China? Whereabouts in China is it? Is it still in use and if so who are the people that run it? So began a chain of events and a good deal of inquiry that lead to the final artwork. A sound installation within the former Blast Furnace Foundations using audio recordings of the same furnace in operation at its new home in China.’
The Audio Installation. Using audio recordings taken of the functioning furnace in China as well as audio recordings of the surrounding residential community; parks, schools, markets, streets, Neville Gabie has created an audio landscape installed in the ruins of Blast Furnace C in Belval and it’s locale.
See PDF for installation layout.Furnace C – FINAL Install Plan
In 1996 Blast Furnace C, the most modern of the three operating Blast Furnaces in Belval, and one of the most modern anywhere in Europe, was sold to a Chinese Iron Company, KISCO -Kunming Iron and Steel Company. 300 Chinese workers spent more then six months from the summer of 1996 in Belval, where over that time they gradually dismantled the entire furnace before shipping it back to China.
Although very little information exists Neville Gabie managed to trace a little of the history with the help of Mr Fernand Tapella and Mr Roby Gales, former management in Belval at the time of the sale. With the support of Fonds-Belval and Paul Wurth he was also able to make contact with KISCO in China. Neville Gabie and Stuart Hewetson Ward [his film assistant and audio editor] were invited to China to document Blast Furnace C, which is still in production, as well as the whole town that has sprung up around the industrial site.
For invitation from KISCO to visit see PDF; Invitation – page 3
Film documenting the deconstruction of Blast Furnace C in Belval and the locations of the audio recording in China