nelly ben hayoun: the other volcano
nelly ben hayoun: the other volcano
aug 27, 2011

nelly ben hayoun: the other volcano

‘the other volcano’ by nelly ben hayoun all photographs © nick ballon

‘the other volcano’ by french-born, london-based artist nelly ben hayoun sees an active miniature volcano placed in the living rooms of volunteers, in a conceptual investigation of the domestication of nature for entertainment purposes. the project is on display as part of ‘glitch fiction‘, a fringe design event that touches on the human relationship to science, technology, and the future, during paris design week, september 12th – 18th, 2011.

in ‘the other volcano’, the model volcanoes erupt at random, spewing smoke and sparks into the living spaces where they are situated. ‘it’s a project,’ hayoun explains, ‘which questions ‘what can be the future of entertainment? how far are we going to go to give us thrills and give us more and more emotion to make us feel alive?’‘

the detonations are accomplished using a combination of potassium nitrate and sugar that has been baked together into a toffee-like pieces and inserted into copper tubes. upon activation, constantan wire, which heats up and glows when exposed to a charge, detonates a small amount of gunpowder, which in turn initiates the potassium nitrate reaction responsible for the pyrotechnics.

nelly ben hayoun: the other volcano smoke lingering after an eruption

nelly ben hayoun: the other volcano the artist is interested in the physical destruction of elements of the living room spaces where the volcano is situated, as a means of understanding our conceptual boundaries of entertainment

nelly ben hayoun: the other volcano the volcano in the studio

footage of an eruption

nelly ben hayoun, her volcanologist consultant dr. carina fearnley, and pyrotechnics designer austin houldsworth discuss the project

  • oh my god, you are all so narrow minded!
    this is definitively design and you should should start using your own brains! This is a fantastic piece which questions our understanding of nature and entertainment.

  • … Too much free time … brains become lazy 🙂

  • Art?… Entertainment?… Technology?… Science?… It looks like a child game! Please stop to propose these things as art!

  • Seriously, it’s not art, not design, not science, not beautiful.

  • They better use K2Cr2O7, not KMnO4.
    it brings less smoke, and looks like more realistic


have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy

(2 articles)


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
507,455 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine