There is Something in the Ground

There is Something in the Sky


“Pluto’s rays cut through the pitchfork and seep into the ground, charging the iron ore…”


Beneath the surface of the English countryside there are millions of tons of iron ore. The ore is harvested and converted into steel.


Operation PLUTO (named after Pipe-Line Under The Ocean) was a feat of engineering whereby steel pipes were laid across the bed of the English Channel to pump fuel from England to the Allied forces in France. But there is another connection with Pluto. In classical mythology Pluto is the god of the underworld, who carries a bident or pitchfork. He was also the god of deep earth and mineral riches. Mineral riches such as iron ore that were needed to produce the steel pipes.


The pitchfork, therefore, has a double meaning as a symbol. It is the symbol of Pluto, and the symbol of Harvest. It became clear that this object connects the netherworld from which the ore was harvested to the celestial body that floats above. It is an object that positions itself between the earth and sky, as a means of viewing both the inferno below and the firmament above.


In many ways the pitchfork functions as a telescope. It rotates to observe a different region of the sky or the earth, a lens to locate and magnify. Slewing embodies that movement and is particularly relevant to the question of mining iron ore. In crane terminology, slewing is the angular movement of a crane boom in a horizontal plane. This is a movement which the artist has tried to encompass, not only in the editing process, but also within the timeless and circular narrative of the work.

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Commissioned by Fermynwoods Contemporary Art as part of Triple Harvest Exhibition