Volcanoes and Scoria Bricks
2021 2x performance for Middlesborough Art Weekender (MAW)
Continuing from Lathwood’s initial ‘Is it Magma?’ research in 2016 ’Volcanoes and Scoria Bricks’ was an extension of exploring lava as a sculptural material. Commissioned by MAW the research focused on ‘Scoria brick’ production - a forgotten building material made from the waste product of the steel industry. These unique bluey bricks were used as paving around Middlesborough and the surrounding areas. In the early 20th century the bricks were being made on such a scale that they were being exported as far as the West Indies and Canada.
This research resulted in two lava performances. One at Darlington Head of Steam Museum and one at The Auxiliary for MAW. The first performance focused on the practicality of melting stone and looking at the similarity of procedure between Lathwood’s previous lava sculptures and scoria bricks. The second performance was less practical and focused on Middlesborough's cultural and industrial past and linking the North East’s scoria brick production with Lathwood’s home town of Bristol where ‘slag blocks’ (a similar waste product from the copper industry) were fabricated. The latter performance also linked the industrial processes of foundry with the natural formation of lava within volcanoes. For example, part of the performance involved the audience witnessing the destruction and formation of a pewter volcano in an endless circle of creation.
In keeping with Lathwood’s pledge to try and make her art practice sustainable she used part of her budget to buy 100 Yew trees to offset carbon emissions produced from travel and the furnace.
For more information about this research please visit isitmagma.com
LocationThe Auxiliary, Middlesborough, UK
CreditPhotography - C K Howard and C R Deakin
Commissioner - Middlesborough Art Weekender (MAW)