Author(s): Arne Schmitt
Arne Schmitt's (born 1984) new photobook is devoted to a single material--basalt, a volcanic rock that has been mined for thousands of years in the Osteifel quarries of Mayen and Mendig. Its hardness coupled with its porous structure made it an ideal raw material for millstones, and it thus became a commodity that was traded far and wide. In the Osteifel region local houses were built from basalt. In the boom years that began midway through the 19th century, an entire construction culture developed around the material, with the result that on many streets the houses still have a matt dark-grey appearance. Schmitt's black-and-white photographs juxtapose the different states, treatment processes and applications of the rock. These features bring into focus its transformation into a cultural product.