Henrichshütte Hattingen


For 150 years, iron and steel were produced, cast, forged, and rolled at Henrichshütte Hattingen (a metallurgical plant in Hattingen, Germany). In 1987, the blast furnaces were “blown out”. Over 100 Chinese workers dismantled blast furnace 2 and shipped it to Hunan to produce iron once again. Since then, steel production worldwide has doubled, and 15 percent of the still rising CO2 emissions come from blast furnaces and steel mills. The Henrichshütte tells the story of a place and its people and ties them into global contexts.

Su Yu Hsin

Blast Furnace No. 2

Futur II | 12.03.2022
Su Yu Hsin, Visual reference of the project Blast Furnace no.2 (WT) , Courtesy: the artist

As an anchor point for her multidimensional video work, Su Yu Hsin uses the empty base of the former blast furnace 2, the so-called furnace sow. In Blast Furnace no.2, the artist combines spectacular satellite images with archival footage and interview excerpts, exploring the topics of steel production, globalization, and the cosmic origin of the metal iron kaleidoscopically from a geological, socio-historical, and ecological perspective.

In 1989, shortly before the closure of the Henrichshütte, blast furnace 2 was purchased by a Chinese steel mill, transported away, and rebuilt in Hunan. It ran there for another 15 years until it was replaced by a larger furnace. In Hattingen, only an empty base, the “furnace sow”, still bears witness to the former heart of the Henrichshütte. Starting from this blank space, Blast Furnace no.2 follows the paths of globalization from Hattingen to Hunan – and finally to outer space: A look into the mineral collection of the Henrichshütte expands the temporal scale of the history of the “HO II” by that of geological time. There, a meteorite containing iron refers to the cosmic origin of the metal: iron occurs everywhere in the universe and was already contained in the cosmic dust when the earth was formed. Su Yu Hsin also takes up this deep-time perspective in narrative terms to illuminate raw material extraction and processing.


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