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house of blue lights - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2008-09-02 22:48
Subject: house of blue lights
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:anuna
I thought this was rather unusual. The artist Roger Hiorns took over a number of derelict bedsits in some flats near the Elephant And Castle. He sealed one up, knocked a hole in the floor of the flat above, and through it poured several thousand litres of copper sulphate solution. Then he waited for it to crystallise, drained off the remaining solution, and knocked a hole through into the flat next door. What was a derelict flat is now an art installation called `SEIZURE.'
The Telegraph talks about it in this rather crappy and aimlessly pretentious vidcast or vodcast or whatever the damn things are called.



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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2008-09-02 22:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Perhaps the description you are looking for is "Voidcast", as in void of content, or sent out into the void?
I thought his description was ok, it just wasted 90 seconds getting to the artwork.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-02 22:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I noticed he couldn't help getting a dig in about the state of social housing in this country.
Voidcast. I like that.
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RealThog: leavingfortusa
User: realthog
Date: 2008-09-02 23:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:leavingfortusa

Pretty! I've always like CuSO4 crystals, and to see them en masse is a delight.

Sarah Crompton looks exactly like you'd expect a Daily Torygraph Arts Editor to look, doesn't she?
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-03 21:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I dunno; I always think the Telegraph Arts Editor should be one of those splenetic ex-Guards officers who live in Tunbridge Wells and advocate the birch for any form of art that Nanny wouldn't have approved of. Sarah Crompton was quite a pleasant surprise, relatively speaking
I rather like this trend for papers to do voidcasts - the Guardian does it too, and very well - but I wish the editors would get it into their heads that there's a reason why some people are print journalists and not television presenters.
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Kat: Maxfield Parrish
User: artykat
Date: 2008-09-03 00:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Maxfield Parrish
Gorgeous! But being tactile, I'd want to touch it right off... Bear says he's touched the stuff many times but didn't know it was toxic. Ooops.
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RealThog: corrupted science
User: realthog
Date: 2008-09-03 01:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:corrupted science

It's all right if you don't lick your fingers afterwards.

(It tastes not too bad in a very tart way. Yes, we were all stupid at school.)
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-03 21:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I did that too! When I was eight or nine my parents bought me a chemistry set, and among the bits of paraphernalia were some copper sulphate crystals and some crystals of some kind of cobalt compound, and well, there was no warning not to lick them. They actually tasted just the same. Yeah, you wouldn't want to sprinkle it on your chips, but I've tasted worse stuff.
You couldn't do that now; with Health & Safety you'd probably get instead a little booklet that said, `Here are the experiments you could do, if we'd put some copper sulphate in this chemistry set.'
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-09-04 03:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Yep, nowadays you're lucky if they put some NaCl in the set . . .
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-04 22:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Because it might give the little darlings high blood pressure forty years on, yes.
I note, in passing, that one of the popular books last year was by the Iggulden Boys and was entitled The Dangerous Book For Boys and included instructions for all the stuff we did as kids, like making go-karts. All the non-PC, frowned-on-by-Health & Safety stuff. I flicked through it, and though I wasn't a particularly adventurous little boy it read like an instruction manual for my childhood. Which made me stop and think.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2008-09-03 00:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's quite beautiful to look at, but in reality a toxic hazard. In the States we have Hazmat teams for removal of toxic substances. What's it called in the UK? (Because someone's going to be calling them . . .)
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RealThog: corrupted science
User: realthog
Date: 2008-09-03 01:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:corrupted science

Oh, heavens, no, it's not that poisonous.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2008-09-03 14:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good.

Why did the journalist say you can't touch it because it's poisonous?

Beautiful shade of blue. :)

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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2008-09-03 15:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hers what appears to be the Oxford university MSDS for Cu II Sulphate.
http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/CO/copper_II_sulfate.html

It does have lower rat toxicity numbers than another one I found. For humans:
"Harmful by inhalation or ingestion. Dust may ulcerate membranes. Prolonged exposure may cause dermatitis. Possible irritant. No UK exposure limit (as at 13.8.01)"

Which isn't that bad really. What I find interesting is that they must have vacuumed the floor up, because I imagine walking around on it would break the crystals causing dust...

What it is really bad for is aquatic organisms:
"Very toxic to aquatic organisms - may cause long term damage in the environment. LC50 (L.macrochirus): 0.7 - 1.1 mg/l"

We don't exactly have Hazmat teams here. What we have are quite a large number of companies who are authorised to move and dispose of Hazardous or Special waste. For example the place I work has some carbon filter barrels which filter out benzene and napthalene and other such hydrocarbons. They cound as special wastes because of the known toxicity of Benzene etc.

You pay these companies to transport and dispose of special waste you have produced. Hence my comment further down about it costing 3 or 4 thousand a day to deal with this stuff.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2008-09-03 17:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you very much for the info! I appreciate it greatly. :)

Copper sulfate is indeed deadly to aquatic life, as are nitrates and high amounts of selenium, which also kills bird life. Careless use of chemical fertilizers can destroy wetlands.

And I agree that walking on the copper sulphate crystals would produce dust. I thought the very same thing myself while I was watching the video. The crystals are lovely to look at, but there are other implications in the art work -- not to be a wet blanket, or anything . . .
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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2008-09-03 10:19 (UTC)
Subject: OK everyone, listen up
The big secret, if someone is bandying about the names of chemicals you don't know anything about is to pue, eg. "Copper Sulphate MSDS" into your favourite search engine.
That will find you a variety of material safety data sheets, some better than others, look at the longer and more professional ones.
I did that last night, and CuSO4 isn't particularly harmful to humans.
Also, for removal of it afterwards, what you need are two blokes in full hazmat gear and a suction tanker. One knocks the crystals off the wall, the other hoovers it all up.
However this will cost you 3 or 4 thousand pounds a day.
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