2 Million & 1 AD by Austin Houldsworth

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2 Million and 1 AD by Austin Houldsworth

UK designer Austin Houldsworth has erected a machine at a park in Cheshire, UK, to fossilise a pineapple and a partridge.

2 Million and 1 AD by Austin Houldsworth

Called 2 Million & 1 AD, the machine is designed to fossilise organic material in a matter of months.

2 Million and 1 AD by Austin Houldsworth

The contraption is on show as part of Tatton Park Biennial and members of the public pump water through it to aid the petrification process.

2 Million and 1 AD by Austin Houldsworth

Tatton Park Biennial continues until 26 September.

2 Million and 1 AD by Austin Houldsworth

Here are some more details from Houldsworth:


Fossilisation Machine commissioned for Tatton Park Biennial.

‘2 Million &1AD’ open to the public from 8th of May to the 26th of September

Tatton Park Biennial 2010, has commissioned artist/designer Austin Houldsworth to build a 4-meter tall, 3 tonne prototype fossilisation machine, which is now located within Tatton Parks formal gardens, near Knutsford. Currently a pineapple and partridge from the Tatton estate are the objects undergoing transformation from organic to mineral, a process that normally takes years.

Houldsworth has designed the machine to operate for the duration of the biennial that lasts five months. During this time, the public pump the 2500 litres of water around the machine – thus becoming an integral part of the fossilisation process.

The machine is the first prototype in a series, which will only ultimately be completed with the petrification (fossilisation) of a Homo sapiens sapiens.

Austin Houldsworth studied Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art. Through his work he strives to create solutions to the problems that are often neglected by industry.

His work often involves chemical reactions, which have been a recurring part of his process. From the intense heat of Thermite within his Surviving with Englishness project, which imagines how a humble cup of tea could be made with just a few minutes remaining on Earth, to the slow geochemical process of petrification in 2 Million & 1 AD. Recently, his work as been part of the award winning ‘Disruptive Thinking’ exhibition at ‘Designersblock’, London. Previous exhibitions include; Microsoft Research, Cambridge; Liverpool Biennial; Site 06 Art Festival, Stroud; as well as numerous film festivals.


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Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 3:24 pm by . See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • Mark

    Heath Robinson…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkgn7-9bCr8 logorithm

    Should show pictures of some of the resultant fossils.

  • modular

    What? I don’t care for the machine, I want to see the final result!!!!

  • lori

    i´d like to see the final outcome….
    and the homo sapiens sapiens idea is sure creepy but would go along with the exhibition “körperwelten”

  • pistabaci

    wait, they’re eventually going to fossilize a person?! that’s a little creepy…is it a volunteer cadaver?
    would be interesting to hear more about the process that happens inside the machine – what does the water do?

  • http://erratum.ca/index.php?init=fg&lang=en Fred

    @pistabaci

    no volunteer, they drive around downtown in an econoline truck at rush hour, and take a lucky winner from the street for a drive…

  • oh no!

    can we have a Britains Got Talent esque competition?! there are some fossils already in my local pub – you dont need a machine!

  • J

    Dezeen, please! follow up with more technical information about how this works. It seems to be a simple enough contraption, perhaps I could fossilize my neighbor’s cat.

  • sanjay

    Any news on this? Must have had time to fossilise by now!