Tantalum Memorial, Arnolfini, Bristol UK - Photograph by Jamie Woodley

bnr#60 => Tantalum Memorial, Arnolfini, Bristol UK - Photograph by Jamie Woodley

CFC short film


Coal Fired Computers - Yoha


Stoke the boiler
Shoveling coal from the face to the furnace –
Smoke spews - Spitting blood.
Stoking boilers, steam under pressure,
venting turbines – current becomes power.

Coal Production:
China: 2,380 million tons, 6000 known miners dead, 70,000 new cases of lung disease a year;
USA: 1,053 million tons, 28 known miners dead, 30,000 new cases of lung disease a year;
India: 492.95 million tons, unknown numbers of miners dead, unknown numbers of cases of lung disease.

Computers jolt into life, crash and reboot, volts flickering,
Flowing through the logic gates of promise:
Lung disease, pneumoconiosis, white finger.

Coal dust everywhere.
Open wounds of the past present,
compressed into our white goods -
trapped in the soot of our chimneys,
fired into our processors.

Infected computers speak of compensation (UK).
Miners’ total claims: 592,000,
Live: 241,000,
Deceased: 351,000
Claims settled: 581,000
Administration costs: £2.3 billion
Including £1.3 billion for claimants’ legal fees.
Miner average claim £3,000.

Coal dust blows east to China and south to India,
setting the earth on fire with its blackness,
children grovel over slag, trading food for pneumoconiosis.

500,000 people die each year of coal related lung disease with many of those remaining invisible to the database machines they fuel, caught up in the routine atrocity of producing our computers and powering them. Each computer takes over 250 Kg of fossil fuel to produce. Our way of life consumes bodies; lungs turn black, bones - malformed to feed the machine, muscles ripped and brains bludgeoned as we progress and develop towards a destination that never comes.

We need the nameless poor to die for us, moving on from slave labour to factories to deregulated enterprises. Slaves were branded, recorded, numbered, classified and priced; today, most Chinese and Indian mine workers never enter into our ledgers and databases. Their underground and invisible labour is the lifeblood of a free-market economy where nameless bodies have no more value than the coal dust that enters their lungs.

Stoke the boiler