Splitting Stone


Penryn Quarry is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Welsh Slate Industry. An Industry dating back to the 16th century employing generations of Welsh workers.

Where once mountains stood, valleys now reside. The mountains having been hollowed by industry. The waste tipped to the ground, redefining gradient lines. Leaving vast quarried terraces behind as a relic of industry.

In this short film we follow the journey of one such slab of slate from mountain to crate.

“Caterpillar diggers are dwarfed against the backdrop of a vast dark grey terraced mountain. This is a scene of an industrial past, and one now unexpected in the valleys since the invention of the concrete roof tile led to the slow demise of the Welsh slate industry.
Having presented this ruined landscape, artist/filmmaker James Davoll sets up his narrative with a careful focus on the material itself. This is presented through a series of lingering frames tracing the process of quarrying slate from mountain, to tile, to crate. It is not until halfway through ‘Splitting Stone’ that we even see a human being. These workers serve the material as actors in a Fordist production line, masters of their repetitive actions, splitting stone in a cacophony of machine noise.”  Henrietta Williams - Bartlett Screening Room

Copyright: James Davoll