Explosion, 1896

Part of - Looking Glass - Johannesburg 2012 and 1886-1896
  • Date: 2012
In Braamfontein, 1896, 60 tons of dynamite standing on a railway siding ignited. The explosion destroyed most of Braamfontein, leaving 200 identified people dead, countless unidentified bodies, 300 injured and 3000 people without homes. The resulting sound wave from the explosion broke all the glass in Johannesburg and was heard as far away as Krugersdorp (30km away). Occuring just a decade after the discovery of gold in Johannesburg, the growth of the city was so great that a few weeks later, no trace of the explosion was visible (other than a monument in the Braamfontein cemetary). To this day there is no account as to the exact position of the explosion, yet this event was of such interest to the rest of the world due to its spectacular scale and the interest in Johannesburg at the time, that the image and story of the explosion travelled the globe.

Explosion, 1896, takes the most iconic image of the 1896 explosion and superimposes it onto a 3d representation of the enourmous crater created by the explosion.
The nature of a 3d model is to break down its complex form into triangles, creating the illusion of a fluid 3d form depending on the amount of triangles the form is broken into, here the image of the explosion becomes fractured by the 3d programme attempting to retain a coherent image but failing to do so.
In this print the full image of the explosion becomes lost, however much we try to put the pieces back together, we seem unable to hold all the information in our minds at once.

Gold Cyanidation. Wall Painting.
This wall painting depicts the molecular diagram for the cyanidation of gold. This process, invented by a few months after the finding of gold in Johannesburg is essential to the extracting of the small, but constant, amount of gold found in the banket rock of the Witwatersrand gold seam. The diagram shows through atoms and molecular forces how cyanide is the perfect partner to gold atomically and thus how it becomes a vital part of the gold extraction process.

Explosion, 1896. Archival print on matt fibaprint. 84x120cm.

Gold Cyanidation. Wall painting. Size Variable

Edition of 3