Asbestos Storm

For more than a century, the miners of Asbestos excavated a huge asbestos mine. Paradoxically, this gigantic “hole” gobbled up entire sections of the town as it grew. LC and JGL examined the open-pit mine by staying there for four days and three nights, in a trailer right at the bottom of the pit. Their approach to this crater – two kilometres wide and 370 metres deep – took the form of total immersion, living in and exploring an outsize environment to produce never before seen images. Today, the depth of the pit captured in these images has been reduced by rising water levels since the mine was put out of service soon after the artists’ intervention.

Asbestos Storm brings out the singular qualities of this mining excavation. Its cumulative effect is to prompt reflection on the effects of our society’s industrial choices and to underscore the heritage quality of this definitive transformation of the environment of the town of Asbestos.

Publicity stills with an obsolete pro-asbestos message, a “video snowstorm” and photographs of the immense pit make up the three parts of the installation by the duo Couturier-Lafargue entitled Asbestos Storm.

This project received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and support from the Jeffrey mine and the town of Asbestos.

Artists Louis Couturier and Jacky Georges Lafargue will present their work during a talk on Friday, March 14 at 2:00 pm at Sporobole.


Louis Couturier and Jacky Georges Lafargue have been playing as a duo since 1991 in France and Quebec. Their approach consists in searching for relevant forms from the recorded images and materials they discover in isolated or unusual sites. Their approach is as follows: surveying, photographing, filming the environment, meeting women and men, creating singular and privileged moments. They develop different kinds of visual and reflexive contents: video and photographic installations, multidisciplinary sculptures, photographs and drawings on paper.

Their recent projects have been produced in Radisson and Chisasibi (James Bay, 2013), Murdochville (Gaspésie, 2012) and Asbestos (Estrie, 2012). Their latest exhibitions have been seen at the University of Rochester (Rochester, New York, February-March 2014), the Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse, Yukon, 2013), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2011-2012), the Musée de Picardie (Amiens, France (2011-2012)) and the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (2011-2012).


In conjunction with the exhibition Asbestos Storm by artists Louis Couturier and Jacky Georges Lafargue, Sporobole will present the film Watermark by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 5pm at Sporobole.

Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and photographer Edward Burtynsky travel the world to explore the world’s most important resource: water. Their journey takes them from the Colorado River, whose tributaries no longer flow into the sea, to China, to the site of Xiluodu, the world’s largest dam. Greenland, where scientists are studying the ice cap, and the banks of the Ganges, where 30 million Indians are taking a sacred bath at the same time, are among the stops on their ten-nation journey to bear witness to our abusive consumption of water, as well as the devastating effects of pollution on aquatic reserves.

2013 – Canada, 92 minutes