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Iron Maiden

Past ID Checks

  • Electro Porn Duo, Christopher Rand and Rori Hanson
  • # 1 Supportah, Christina North
  • Standup comic, Noah Garfinkel
  • Mr. Birdhead, Michael Crigler
  • Shy girl gone wild, Naomi Bennett
  • Teenage Bentmen, Casey Desmond
  • Naked animator, Bob White
  • The Boston jerk, Wayne Marshall (a.k.a. Wayne & Wax)
  • Experimental audio researcher, Jon Whitney
  • Savage rock, runway style, Keys to the Streets of Fear
  • Mash-up diva, Kate Enlow
  • Acitvist poster boy, Nick Giannone
  • Barista master, Willie Carpenter
  • Allston via MTV, Iann Robinson
  • name: Véronique d’Entremont

    age: 22

    resides: Jamaica Plain

    likes: hot bods, dropping bottom, coke

    When Véronique d’Entremont mentions the phrase ‘dropping bottom,’ she isn’t talking about a saggy ass. Likewise, a hot ‘bod’ has nothing to do with physique. And the term ‘coke’? Doesn’t mean either of the things you think.

    The 22-year-old Massachusetts College of Art student is an executive-board member of a local Iron Guild — an independent association that stages public events around the spectacularly fiery process of pouring molten iron. They sledgehammer old radiators culled from Craig’s List, then dump the smashed-up raw material into furnaces. The subsequent display is a stunning pyrotechnic show: safety-gear-outfitted participants dispensing flowing, lava-esque iron liquid down chutes, across makeshift bridges, onto plywood pieces. It’s an infernal fire-art scene — like construction workers toiling in the Apocalypse.

    What’s strange to some spectators is that the process is the creation: iron pourers aren’t actually making anything. "People are very object-oriented when it comes to art — and that’s something we fly in the face of," explains d’Entremont, in her shared MassArt studio on a recent Monday. "[An iron pour] is the same as fireworks, in a way."

    Like last month during a Vermont sculpture festival, d’Entremont and her collaborators built a single-use furnace on a cliff that overlooked a 300-feet-deep quarry. Then, at night, they poured the liquid metal off the ledge, creating a fiery-waterfall cascade. "I’ll explain to people and they’re like ‘So what happened to the iron?’ I’m like, ‘Well, it sank to the bottom of the quarry.’ ‘Oh, what does it look like?’ And I [admit], ‘I don’t know.’ And they’re like, ‘What’s the point?’ Then you look at the photos and you’re like, ‘Oh, I get it; it looked really cool.’ "

    But d’Entremont isn’t drawn just to how cool liquefied iron looks. "Iron is a gritty, natural thing," she explains. "It comes from bogs and riverbeds, it is in our blood, our solar system is made of it." The South End native has also used the iron-casting process to form her own sculptures. Like last year, when she built a batch of angular plywood molds with feet-like shafts and boxy spouts, then poured iron into them: the wood burst into flames and the iron inside bubbled. One series, titled "Home Lightly," is a collection of charred-looking, gothic sculptures with spiderwebby edges — they look like dollhouses for Nightmare Before Christmas action figures.

    Whereas the flaming, liquid metal is full of life, d’Entremont’s other major art project focuses on life’s absence. Since high school, she’s photographed abandoned institutions, like Jewish resorts in the Catskills, a Bangkok hotel abandoned mid construction, a Suffolk County hospital. "These places just look like people got up and left," d’Entremont says, motioning toward a few photos hanging on a studio wall. "There’s a sense of urgency: people have left really personal things there."

    One of her favorite pieces is a vertical triptych of a paint-peeling baby-blue wall adorned with countless cockroach traps, an old sink, and a framed picture of Tom Selleck — it’s from a psychiatric hospital in New York State. "Why’re there so many roach traps?" d’Entremont wonders, pointing up at the piece. An adjacent color printout illustrates another of her favorite themes: "nature reclaiming something." It’s a shot of blue couches on a green-shag carpet — but look longer and it becomes apparent that the emerald rug is thick moss.

    Below that image on d’Entremont’s desk are sheets of uncut fliers for this Sunday’s Halloween Iron Pour. I mention that the underside of a furnace fell out at last year’s pour, disgorging wildly smoking charcoal and steaming iron. D’Entremont says that’s protocol — that’s ‘dropping bottom.’ An Iron Guild collaborator within earshot goes to grab an iron-casting glossary flier. A "bod" is a clay plug in the furnace. "Coke"? "Yeah, it’s cocaine," says d’Entremont. "No! It’s just purified coal."

    The Iron Guild’s Halloween Pour takes place this Sunday, October 30, in the MassArt Courtyard, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, with Green Milk from the Planet Orange + Wildlife + Plunge Into Death | Music rain location will be Room N-181 | 7 pm | $7 | IronGuild.net


    Issue Date: October 28 - November 3, 2005
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