Art Conjecture: Productive Chaos

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By Mitchell Magee

My inspiration for my art design conjecture is the close ties which I discovered in my research that firefighter share between chaotic processes, metal, and high heat. Firefighters face great danger and chaotic environments relying on heavy tools of metal to destroy things in order that lives may be saved. The thermite casting process that I found in the YouTube videos which I referenced in my research really inspired me; the process is highly compelling and from an artistic value I love the fact that there is great artistic value in the process itself and the resultant artifact that is produced. This is materiality in motion as powdered metal violently burns, casting sparks, until the now molten steel pours from the crucible to form a glowing mass that fills the waiting mold below. This mass goes from white hot to a glowing red as it solidifies into solid steel. Once cooled this steel is acid etched to reveal a crystalline structure and unique patterns of the Damascus crucible steel. Each will be completely unique. The resultant form is in the shape of a fire axe speaking to the way in which firefighters work collaboratively with dangerous elemental forces in the name of saving others.

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