I’m currently working on a series of high resolution digital renders of this coal mining headframe that is modelled off the one in Valenciennes, France.
These images compel us to consider the complex interplay of local and national prosperity, workers’ rights and conditions, industrial might versus our environmental impact, and how we memorialize our progress to reflect on our future relationship with nature.
I visited the headframe of the Dutemple No. 2 coal mine in Valenciennes in 2015 as part of my research into the area for my subsequent live video sculpture mapping performance for the Serre Numérique Inauguration. The mine was open for a record 185 years and this structure remains as a historic monument to an industry that helped define the prosperity and creativity of the region.
I recreated the headframe as a 3d model by hand from the photos I took from my original visit. This process, while somewhat laborious, makes one study and consider the form and material on a much deeper level than using scanning techniques. The images are rendered using Blender.
The Dutemple pit of the Compagnie des mines d’Anzin is a former coal mine in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais mining basin, located in Valenciennes, France.
In the eighteenth century, the city of Valenciennes flourished as a beacon of art, culture, and industry, earning it the moniker of “the Athens of the North.” It was during this time that the city gained widespread recognition for its exquisite porcelain.
The demand for coal to fuel the porcelain furnaces sparked the establishment of mining enterprises in the region, further fueled the city’s economic growth.
The headframe of Dutemple No. 2 well has been listed as a historical monument since May 6, 1992.