Slag Landscape

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During my research-project in Belval Luxembourg, developed within the residency program Public Art Experience – BeHave – organized by Le Fonds Belval and curated by Michael Pinsky and Stéphanie Delcroix, I started exploring the surrounding areas of the Lorraine in search of industrially exploited soils to enrich my collection of soil pantone. Once in the area I got so much fascinated by the slag deposits that anything else seemed irrelevant.

Slag is the by-product left over after a desired metal has been extracted from its raw ore. The ore is extracted from the earth through mining and after melting the rocks at 1.535˚C only the profitable minerals are kept to be processed, while the non valuable part – slag – is discarded in the near by surroundings.

Luxembourg has been an important center of steel production in the 20th century, manly because of the vicinity of the iron ore deposit to the earth’s surface known since the Roman time. From 1909 to 1912 the first blast furnaces were constructed with a capacity to produce 1200 tons of steel per day. Even though the iron ore was profitable because of it “facility” to be extracted only 20% of it was steel and the remaining 80% has been accumulated throughout the century in slag heaps sometimes 50 meters in height, creating a new landscape – a new geology – entirely man made, simulacrum of the 1900 as anthropogenic century.

Photos taken in Dudelange Natural Reserve “Haard – Hesselbierg – Staebierg” © Giuseppe Licari 2015

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