The Eldfell Eruption of Heimaey (January 23rd, 1973)
8mm footage taken by George Patrick Leonard Walker (1926 - 2005)
It takes more than guts to peer into an erupting volcano... Or to stand beside a river of lava moving at 40mph... Or to gaze at a cloud of tephra larger than any skyscraper. It could even be said that in doing these things it's not just the earth's stomach that you witness but your own insides, your human guts and sense of scale. During the later years of his life, George P.L Walker turned to investigating active volcanos as a way to perpetuate and develop the then little-known science of rheology (the study of fluid dynamics). Walker used cinematic technologies to record his rigorous explorations of lava flow, and only now have his films been rediscovered and preserved for the public to share in his life's work. With an eye for the unlikely and ineffable, artists Curtis Tamm (USA) and Hermione Spriggs (UK) reopen the unseen cinematic and textual archives of George Walker. Through a collaboration with Breiðdalssetur, geology center, the artists work with Walker's archive as a way to engage the literal and metaphysical implications raised by the groundbreaking work of this scarcely known geologist.
Produced by Breidalssetur Geology Center (Christa and Martin Feucht)
Sound Design & Editing by Curtis Tamm
This short film is featured as part of The Viscous Shape, a research and film project directed by Hermione Spriggs & Curtis Tamm.
Made with generous support from the Arts Council England International Development Fund & Skaftfell Center for Visual Art. Special thanks to the Walker Family and GPL Walker Archives.