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Carbon Arts; Alchemy

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By Ralph Jones

Carbon Arts is an organization whose long term goal is to teach the art of iron casting.
In addition to teaching, Carbon Arts uses the process of casting iron as performance art, incorporating live music and audience participation into the performance. Audiences participate by designing many of the moulds used in the in the iron pour.

The organization was founded by artists Casey Westbrook & Aaron McCaffery who met while working on Matthew Barney’s film “KHU”. The film featured the largest out of industry iron pour, 25 tons. McCaffery and Westbrook designed and build the cupolas or, furnaces, for that iron pour. Many of the original founding members of Carbon Arts also worked as cast and crew of the film “KHU”. At the conclusion of the filming, Matthew Barney donated the cupolas and Carbon Arts was formed.

Since it’s 2010 inception Carbon Arts has hosted workshops in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) and Techshop, an organization that provides members with access to tools, equipment, and instruction to build their own projects. In addition Carbon Arts has produced many performances including the “Inaugural Pour” and “2012; A New Iron Age”. Carbon Arts is currently working on the production of “Beltane” scheduled for May of 2013 and inspired by the Beltane Fire Festival of Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Casey Westbrook, foreground, manipulates molten iron inside a mould

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A crew member pours a mixture of coke and limestone into the cupola

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Carbon Arts during the performance “2012; A New Iron Age”

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Carbon Arts during the 2012; A New Iron Age performance

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A crew member removes slag as another crew member looks on

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Moulds being filled with molten iron

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Carbon Arts during the 2012; A New Iron Age performance

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Crew member fill a pouring bucket

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A crew member pours a mixture of coke and limestone into the cupola

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Casey Westbrook, foreground, manipulates molten iron inside a mould


About the Photographer: Ralph Jones, United States of America.

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Ralph Jones has been experimenting with the photographic process since the age of 10.
For the last few years he has been documenting the City of Detroit in an attempt to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the uniqueness of Detroit, her buildings, and her people. As a result of this documentation he has set about developing a second career as a photographer, editor, publisher, exhibiting artist and educator.
“Ralph Jones, a fav of mine – – sees Detroit through a very compassionate, humane, non-judgemental filter (his heart) that when viewed through his lens, provides us with an important view of Detroit (his hope). He is an ambassador for Detroit through his photography. If politics didn’t require corruption, he’d be Detroit’s man.”
Dinah Hemenway Oude-Reimerink

Twitter: @RalphJones313
Flickr: RalphJones313
Website: http://www.ralphjones313.com/

Avatar of Ralph Jones
Ralph Jones has been experimenting with the photographic process since the age of 10. For the last few years he has been documenting the City of Detroit in an attempt to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the uniqueness of Detroit, her buildings, and her people. As a result of this documentation he has set about developing a second career as a photographer, editor, publisher, exhibiting artist and educator. “Ralph Jones, a fav of mine – - sees Detroit through a very compassionate, humane, non-judgemental filter (his heart) that when viewed through his lens, provides us with an important view of Detroit (his hope). He is an ambassador for Detroit through his photography. If politics didn’t require corruption, he’d be Detroit’s man.” Dinah Hemenway Oude-Reimerink Flickr: RalphJones313
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