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Crosscut Dispersed

Mill Lab Work Station audio installation is the first in the Crosscut Dispersed series. This is a Tin Coast Commission by Geevor's artist in residence, James Barber.

Listen to a Visitors reaction to a Geiger counter being triggered:-

World pioneering technology re-emerges!

Installed in the Mill 50 years ago, the ‘On Stream Analyser’ is presented as a central theme of Mill Lab Work Station. This audio installation, along with recollections of those who worked with it, is ready to be discovered again.

Statement by Geevor’s artist in resident James Barber.


‘I was drawn to Geevor Tin Mine initially through my mothers work connection and my childhood memories. My practice is centred around ‘responding’ to a site, through an investigative approach and gathering recollections from those who worked there – with particular attention to the unusual yet authentic contexts. I believe this brings important objects and places to life that otherwise could be lost by historical contexts.

As part of my Tin Coast commission, I looked to identify the locations and pieces of equipment – where I would fuse technical information, unusual sounds and amusing stories of working life within the installation.

With the help of former Geevor chemist David Wright, I located the Mintek On Stream Analyser which, in the 1970s, was a cutting edge piece of computerised equipment that used radioactive isotopes in the analysis process. I recall my mother referring to this machine whilst she worked as a mineral analyst at mine sites throughout Cornwall. Through continued dialogue with David Wright and the Mintek technician Paul Goodhill I went about cleaning and reconditioning the rusty old cabinet and critically utilising its structure to resonate audio recordings within it. It’s important to state that this is not restoring or up-cycling. The purpose is to embed the object with voices and recollections of its original operators – we were respecting the past by making something new.


The Mintek On Stream Analyser is a central element of Mill Lab Workstation, the first work in the Tin Coast series. After experiencing Mill Lab Workstation a visiting archaeologist perfectly summed up my approach to embed recollections within the site………

‘The lobster story…the quirky funny side, the human side, that’s something you lose when you just have building’s they don’t tell you stories, people tell you stories’.

‘I work on projects that connect archaeology, aural history and art. We find the art side gives another way to connect people with history and heritage in a more informal involved way. I hope you get to do more art work here’.

Nina, visiting archaeologist

The immersive feeling of the sounds, words and singing from Mill Lab kept me listening! The sense of hearing them through the old equipment and the story that we might be looking at the very machine that the artists mum had worked was captivating. What a treat!! 

Jill Stott, Tin Coast Manager

This work has been tested by a qualified professional and it has passed safety checks.


Development of the project

First concept drawing of Mill Lab Workstation. I wanted to bring attention to the surface work that was done at Geevor, especially in the late 1960’s onwards. I was aware from conversations with my mother of the ‘world-first’ technology and approaches developed in Cornwall. In my opinion something that needed to be re-visited .

The search begins

Geevor’s pioneering ‘world first technology’ resurfaces.

On Stream Analyser working in the Mill

On Stream Analyser-rediscovered.

‘GOOD LUCK WITH THAT’ quote from Geevor guide.

On Stream Analyser being safety checked and getting a clean.


Mill Lab installation location chosen

The 2nd concept drawing showing location, the On Stream Analyser and selected objects for the installation including Geiger Counter and Analysis Pre Amplifier .


‘LOOKING GOOD’ (quote from same guide) – encouragement that progress is being made.

The identified objects - left to right - Analysis pre-amplifier, a Geiger counter and computer code book

ITS ALIVE! - transducer speaker tests creating optimum effect by resonating with the cabinet

James Barber in situ audio checks

Sounds that you will experience

All rights reserved James Barber © 2021