A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.
Inferno Observatory is a multi-channel moving image work that explores humankind’s complex relationship with natural phenomena. During a fellowship at the Mineral Sciences Laboratory in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, Semiconductor unearthed a 16mm volcano film archive shot by volcanologists in the field, it reveals spectacular occurrences and curious, obsessive and sometimes absurd processes of observing and studying volcanoes.
In the work, these films have been re-contextualised to emphasise and examine three distinct relationships; the erupting volcano as all-powerful and humbling, the spectacle as people gather to watch in collective amazement, photograph and be photographed and the taming of the volcano through scientific probing, measurement and human endeavour.
Archive footage courtesy of Mineral Sciences Department, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC. Commissioned by Jacqui Davies and FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology. Supported by Arts Council England. Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship.
Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Scientists films, film archive.
Music by Peeesseye.
Andreas Bick, sound recording of Mt. Yassur Volcano, Tanna Island, Vanuatu.
Professor Willy Aspinall, Earth Sciences, Bristol University, UK. For his audio recording ‘St Vincent 1979’.
Jonathan M. Lees, Professor of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. For his seismic data collected at Tungurahua volcano.
Gregory P. Waite, Assistant Professor of Geophysics, Michigan Technological University, USA. For his seismic data from Fuego Volcano, Guatemala and Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA.
Produced by Jacqui Davies.