Powder and Sand
Abrasive blasting, better known as sandblasting, is an industrial technique in which the abrasive (also called ‘media’ in English) is propelled by compressed air on a surface. Depending on the media, on air pressure and flow, the surface may be slightly scraped, cleaned or completely destroyed. In order to protect the technician from the dust from this high-speed pressure, work almost always takes place in a confined and well-ventilated area called the projection booth. The cabin is hermetically closed, its content is sucked out to prevent the material from spreading and the vision from getting blurred. When the engine starts, the pressure is stabilized and projected on the target. It rubs and takes away the layers on the surface, gradually.
The abrasive beam concentrates the media in a fine, conical explosion. The affected material disintegrates, it disappears layer after layer. In a way, this simulates natural erosion, the passage of waves and water, the violence of sand and wind in the desert. The friction of the support erases it, transforms it into sand, into dust, leaving behind a lunar landscape. Inside the protective helmet, the operator hears only the soothing hiss of the air flow entering the mask. The only way to control things is through vision, through the square glass, the eye-screen, and through the constant feeling repercussion in the tube passing through your hands.
The room is continually bombarded by these ricochets of particles, each of the elements that compose it is exposed there. Only the most durable materials can withstand it, and only for a limited time. The walls are mat, powdered. Nothing bright or polished remains in the room. The PROJECTION CABIN exhibit offers an overview of this ongoing research around the potential of these techniques as a means of creating and destroying, illustrating the blowing chamber as a projection room, a workshop and an isolated workspace.
Lodewijk Heylen, september 2014