– What do you think about our factory?
– It’s the biggest factory I’ve seen. The size is magnificent. It took my breath away.
– People often talk about the health hazards, has your visit changed your opinions on asbestos?
– Well, I’m still afraid of it. It’s healthy to be scared of everything that comes from so deep beneath the soil. All things that come from the deep should be treated carefully.
A casual interview (for local news) between myself and a videographer working for Uralsbest mines and factories in the city of Asbest. Our trip was organized as a part of the biennial industrial excursions. We were offered nuggets of asbestos as gifts. The nuggets that we didn’t take were sold forwards. Apparently they are popular and yield a good price.
The day was very eventful. I got a really intensive and sensitive tour of the biennial main exhibition by an exhibition mediator. He walked with me trough the halls sharing his insights on different works and recollections of discussions with the main project curator Xiaoyu Weng, encounters with the artists and chats with other mediators. It was a psychogeographic mapping of the exhibition and the thoughts it provoked.
During the tour we identified “particles” or fragments of knowledge, which could be used to piece together forgotten (or removed) cultures. These “particles” were presented both as memories or stories and physical artifacts which worked like “keys” to inform our understanding.