When Italian artist and filmmaker Yuri Ancarani set out to capture the carefully orchestrated process of extracting marble from a quarry in the Italian Alps, he had some pretty wonderful material to work with. Gigantic blocks of marble are carved out like enormous sugar cubes, cleaved from the mountainside with the careful encouragement of huge diggers — monstrous machines dwarfed by the otherworldly landscape that surrounds them.
Check out the magical movie below …
One man, Il Capo ("The Chief"), conducts the entire operation with subtle but decisive hand movements — a flick of the wrist here, a clenched fist there — and the 20-ton blocks slide gracefully to the floor like calving glaciers, ready to be taken away for further processing. (The artist spent a year filming these surreal scenes on Monte Bettolgi in the Apuan Alps, and the resulting footage was exhibited at London's Whitechapel Gallery last fall.)
Ancarani cranked up the visceral richness of the environment with subtle filters and high exposure to emphasize the stunningly beautiful slabs of marble as they are prized away from the quarry wall. It makes for a truly engrossing portrait of an everyday industrial operation, and serves to remind us all of the work that goes into sourcing the building materials we work with each day.