Voodoo Science Park
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Voodoo Science Park started life as a poetic film about the science of accident investigation practised by the Health and Safety Laboratory in the Peak District of England. In the book of the film, Victoria Halford and Steve Beard reveal the thinking that went into the preparation of the script. The Health and Safety Lab is the place where large-scale accidents such as tunnel collapses, fires and rail crashes are recreated to examine their destructive pathways. Halford and Beard explore the connections with imitative magic, drawing on the secret histories of dissident religious sects, miners and shamans as well as the prophecies of William Blake. They rethink the lab’s industrial safety rigs as monstrous emblems of the state, as theorised by Thomas Hobbes, and retrace the steps of a journey the political philosopher took through the hollow lands of the Peak in 1626. Testimony from highwaymen, ramblers and urban explorers is collected along the way. The book is composed in a fragmentary style, which weaves together philosophy, travelogue, history of science, sociology and religious study.
by the accident has been bridged, the hole in the archive has been filled. One of the things at stake here is the social frame of the science of classical mechanics. Newton’s laws of motion dictate the course of an event in a pure space – such as the mathematical field of a computer simulation or the controlled three-dimensional space of an incident lab. However, once the science of mechanics is applied to a socially constructed space – such as a workplace or a public transport facility – then
world which is more completely explained by a scaled-up version of quantum mechanics. The quantum reality which drops out of their operations defines the margin for an alternative interpretation of their work. To say that the simulations of accident investigation have affinities with the practices of sympathetic magic is one thing. It is an analogy. The most which can be claimed is that if the science of classical mechanics is tested often enough, then its historic origins become steadily more
share the photographs they have taken of themselves inside the grounds of the lab on Harpur Hill. They have climbed on top of the rounded surface of the overground tunnel and posed in front of the underground roadway. These self-styled “urban explorers” are eager to mark the territory of a site which has the aura of a forbidden place. 28 The lads share tales of how they have passed along the public footpaths into Harpur Hill and then stepped off the trail, dodging the lab’s security guards,
containers to discover how far this can check the spread of fire. THE PROPHETS TELL In the eighteenth chapter of the sacred book of the Koran, known as the “Cave”, there is told the story of Gog and Magog. These destructive creatures are imprisoned behind a wall by a great king. His intention is to protect a local tribe of people, who duly offer him tribute in the customary way. Gog and Magog never stop trying to escape from their confinement. The Koran states that their final exodus is a
the demon to feed upon. This is the fifth stop on the tour. Here, at the private chapel, Tommy conducts his most extreme performance. Leviathan Two has been pulverised, ground into atoms. The fine powder is deposited on the floor of the chapel, where Gogmagog awaits. The door is shut. Ignition takes place. Tommy is guided by an alchemical principle. He figures that any social body, sufficiently granulated, returns to the original explosive state of cosmic matter. He calls this primal scene the