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.
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.
As part of his Tin Coast commission, Geevor Tin Mine’s artist in residence James Barber has been working to identify locations and pieces of equipment that could be brought to life by authentic recollections. These works fuse technical information, unusual sounds and amusing stories of working life.
With the help of former Geevor chemist David Wright, Barber 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. This machine may well have been used by Barber’s own mother who worked as a mineral analyst at mine sites throughout Cornwall. Barber reconditioned the cabinet utilising its structure to resonate audio recordings within it.
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
‘GOOD LUCK WITH THAT’ quote from Geevor guide
The ongoing interaction between James Barber and Geevor’s history is at the core of his investigative artistic practice which has developed on site and driven his earlier work and this commission. The machine above was identified through a dialogue with a former chemist and through conversations with Mintek’s chief technician. This dialogue extended the understanding of the machine, combined with James’s own recollections and approaches has created the work.
Believe it or not, this forgotten rusty piece of machinery was one of the ‘cutting edge’ pieces of kit in the 1970s. The way it was used at Geevor, with its incorporation of early computer technology and the use of radioactive isotopes was pioneering in the world of mining. Known as the ‘On Stream Analyser’, it has been hidden away . Excitingly this object is now centre stage in Mill Lab Work Station, brought to life by sounds and recollections of those who worked on it.
On Stream Analyser being safety checked and getting a clean.
MANY …MANY…MANY HOURS LATER!!!
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
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