Ed Pearce
Diploma 6

The project infiltrates the iron ore resource supply chain in Western Australia, specifically in Port Hedland, in the Pilbara region. Fine iron ore dust, the primary by-product of the industry, cloaks the surrounding townscape. The proposal, a “Toxic Garden”, is an innovative infrastructure, parasitically leaching from existing industrial facilities.

It is a speculation on a renewed cultural relationship to the by-products of iron-ore mining. This industry lies beneath the scenes of modern existence, residing on the periphery of man’s experience of the world. We are detached from the means of production and the toxicity that drives our existence.

It is not about creating a solution to the toxicity of Port Hedland, rather a proposal about how two opposing value systems of landscape may be reconciled. The project prompts discussion around the relationship between culture and industry: the economic value of the mineral site often overshadows the cultural value of the ancestral, aboriginal landscapes of Australia. It is a didactic engagement of the physical, valuable material of Earth, which forms the lifeblood of the community.

The “Toxic Garden” has been developed through a series of dust and electrical simulations, rather than conventional drawing. The physical properties of this dust, collected directly from the site, were experimented with in scale stage sets. The dust is stimulated by electrostatics and the dancing of electricity.

Toxic Garden // Ceremonial Paths

Electrostatics lift the microscopic films of dust towards the sky.

Enclosing a path driving through the very heart of the Port works, the visitor is immersed by industry and material.

Toxic Garden // Electric Orchard 01

The high-voltage electrodes fill the dust-loaded air with negative ions.

Toxic Garden // Electric Orchard 02

Weaving between these hazardous zones, the visitor’s mind becomes fuzzy from the static, charged landscape.Toxic Garden // Electric Orchard 03

Charges peak every few seconds, releasing corona into to the surrounding electrodes.Toxic Garden // Settling Landscapes 02

Transforming over time, the new topographies enlarge underneath shaded electrostatic plates, sheltering visitors from high dust concentrations.

At midnight, the area is shut off and the plates are mechanically wiped, discharging dust to the ground below.
Toxic Garden // Settling Landscapes 01

New landforms are created, cultivating the by-product of the iron ore handling process.Toxic Garden // Shifting Planes 01

The ore piles, effervescing in the wind, are extended to create a new topography, funnelling air into the existing site.
Toxic Garden // Shifting Planes 02

Among the piles of mining residue, the surface dust transfers between collection areas in a constant flux.

The dust tectonic rests within the perimeter of the charged zones, then finally projected skywards.Toxic Garden // Surface Harvesting

Endless is the kingdom of dust, covering all in its wake.

Reality disguised: removing the dust blanket reveals the true identity of what lies beneath.

The parallel lines of pins occupy the entire garden. 

Scars mark the urban landscape: a vivid reminder of the damage caused by harvesting Earth’s precious resources.Toxic Garde // Ceremonial Paths 02

Occasional flashes of lightning distance the visitor from truly connecting to the industrial

It is a journey through the lost city of dust, before its farewell