16 Tons
17 Tons: Memory as practice
17 Tons: Memory as practice
2012 Architects & Refunc
Accumulation
Aesthetics of Pollution
Alexandrov, Grigori
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Ashington Group, The
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Bevierre, Olivier
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Britten, Benjamin
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Buckle, Janet
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Campbell, Duncan
Carbon
Carboniferous Landscapes
Cinematek Brussels
Claire Fontaine
Claus, Emile
Coal Face, 1935
Coalbrook-dale
Cobb, Francis William
Contemporary Art
Cornish, Norman
Crises of Capitalism
Cuauhtémoc Media (Chief Curator Manifesta ...
Cvijanovic, Nemanja
Cycles of Realism
Dark Matter
Dawn Ades: Coal as a ...
Daykin, Gilbert
de Loutherbourg, Philippe Jacques
Deller, Jeremy
Demuth, Charles
Dirt
Docu-Modernism
Douard, Cécile
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Edgar Hermans about the Heritage ...
Embroidered Sayings
Epics of Redundancy
Ernst, Max
European Civilisation
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Garden Cities
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Goldin+ Senneby
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Hanging the Manifesta 9 Flag
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Herman, Josef
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Iguanodon
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Kuai Shen
Landscape: From the Picturesque to ...
Landscape: From the Picturesque to ...
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Livrets des ouvriers mineurs du ...
Long, Richard
Luce, Maximilien
Luque, Manuel
L’Inter-nationale
Maciá, Oswaldo
Manifesta 9
Manifesta Journal 13: Conversation between ...
Martin, John
Masereel, Frans
Mass-Observation movement
Matthys, Michaël
McCullin, Don
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Meunier, Constantin
Michaël Matthys about La Ville ...
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Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig
Miner/Worker
Mining Machine
Modern
Monko, Marge
Moore, Henry
Munby, Arthur
Museum of the Miner’s House, ...
Newcomen Colliery Winding Engine
News from the Graveyard: On ...
Ni, Haifeng
Nostalgia and Its Discontents
Origins of Manifesta
Pabst, Georg Wilhelm
Paleobotany
Paulus de Châtelet, Pierre
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Poetics of Restructuring
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Post-industrialism
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Radioactivity
Raqs Media Collective
Residue
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Robinson, William Heath
Rocco Granata about 'Marina'
Saint Barbara
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Selander, Lina
Sime, Sidney
Smithson, Robert
Smoke, Colours and Loans
Soi, Praneet
Soviet propaganda
Stakhanovism
Stella, Joseph
Sutherland, Graham Vivien
The Age of Coal: An ...
The Legacy of Manifesta
The Mine Depot, Waterschei
Timmermans, Ante
Tomaszewski, Yan
Torfs, Ana
Underground as Hell
Underground, Models of the
Vanden Eynde, Maarten
Vandersteen, Willy
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Venet, Bernar
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VIDEO: Kuai Shen
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Zwartberg drama
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EN / nl

Mining Machine

Few landscapes have undergone as much fundamental physical change as the mining landscape of central Limburg. In a few decades, what was once an open agricultural landscape saw itself transformed into a Fordist production machine. On August 2, 1901, André Dumont first found coal in the open heathlands of the municipality of As at a depth of 541 meters (Doorslaer 2002). Seven large concessions of approximately 50 km² each were granted, considerably larger than those in Wallonia or the Netherlands. This is because it was thought that the sinking of pit shafts would be difficult and that profitability was not guaranteed. Those who could afford such a risk were major Belgian, French and Luxembourgish industrial investors. Seven concession holders decided to use public heathlands, which were a vital link in an agricultural system that had survived and moulded the local landscape for centuries. As a result, the ecological equilibrium between meadows, fields, heathlands and the human population they were able to support was upset in a major way. A vast production complex arose on the seven mining sites with an ingenuity and rationality characteristic of engineers. The main building, with head office, was finished beautifully with Art-Nouveau elements, as in Waterschei, or with a nod to design elements from the Maasland style of architecture, as in the so-called coal mansion of Eisden. This was the public face of the company, appointed charmingly with flowerbeds and greenery. The two headgears with the winding engine house were the heart of the company. From here, people and goods would go underground, alternating with coal being brought up. Conveyors and small railway wagons transported the coal to washing and screening plants. From there, railway wagons would carry slag to the nearby slag heaps on the edge of the mining site, and coal either to the ports on the Albert Canal or directly to industrial areas. The sparsely populated Kempen region, with barely twenty inhabitants per square kilometer in the 19th century, failed to supply the number of workers needed (i.e., 44,000 in 1948). Beautiful residential areas modelled on the English garden cities were built to attract new labourers. One wave of immigrants was soon followed by another: Russians, Italians, Spanish, Greeks, Turkish, Moroccans. There are currently people of more than 70 different nationalities living in Genk. The residential areas and company premises formed one unit and were under the direct control of the management of the mining company. Each mining subsidiary with its constituent parts made up one production unit, connected by railway and canal networks to the other mining subsidiaries. In the open spaces of the remaining public land, thousands of hectares of pine forests were planted to yield wood needed for pit props. Every part of the landscape played its role in the production of coal. The seven mining subsidiaries, the slag heaps, the railways, canals and forests, the residential areas and people all formed one gigantic mining machine, with production and profit the ultimate goal. PB