Holes in the ground / by Jenny Hall

On the 20th January I got a late night text from an anthropologist friend of mine who had just caught the end of an inspiring conversation: "...Right now, Radio 3 'Free thinking' is talking about the extraction of subterranean resources and it's impact on culture. Might be useful listening for your hollow project..."

And it was. I listened over and over to Rosalind Williams, Ted Nield and Paul Younger talk with their host Rana Mitter about their experiences of being deep in mines in the ground and how mining, ostensibly a driver of planet earth destruction was also the device through which we learnt how the world was formed. Once the underworld was a smoking hole of mystery but as miners delved inside the earth they found a universal layering of rock which informed the understanding of plate tectonics and in turn the theory of evolution.

This is a fascinating podcast. It explores the underground as a realm of wonder and hallucination and re-names the industrial revolution as the fossil fuel or subterranean revolution.  Rosalind and I have since been in discussion developing ideas for the Hollow symposium on 13 April hosted by The Centre for Cultures of Place. She asks the question:

What are the consequences when human beings dwell in an environment that is predominantly built rather than given?
— Rosalind Williams, Notes on the Underground

Pertinent as we build a world on the surface of the same size as the subterranean one that we continue to excavate.