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All Colours Are Destroyed

This project maps the explosive elemental connection between the earth and the sky, and the human stories that exist at the surface.

The spectacle of the firework celebrates and commemorates, marking time and occasion. They explode with dazzling colour; each colour is the fiery transformation of an element from solid into thin air; they are resources hewn from the ground and also collect in salty deposits in the form of heavy metal pollution through air, or industrial run off.

Air pollution collects on the surface as metal-salts. These salts create the colours in fireworks that are then lifted into aerial spectacle. All Colours Are Destroyed seeks to manufacture fireworks from site-specific pollution. Each firework’s colours are unique to the pollution profile of the site of collection.

Luiyang is a small town in Hunan province in China that is responsible for most of the world’s explosives. Most of these are made by women; mothers and grandmothers whose calm patience prepare them for such work.

This new project traces the journey of the elements, from their creation in the stars, to their extraction underfoot, their collection into pollution, and to their manufacture into celebratory spectacles that mark human occasion.

Embedded in this journey are the potent explosive politics of globalised industry, labour practices, pollution, international politics, and the people whose hands actually make the physical work.


Lead Artist Emily Parsons-Lord

Dramaturg Clare Britton

AV Kate Blackmore

Pyrotechnical Expert Tim Riach

Producer Erin Milne

Associate Producer Xavier O’Shannessy


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the New South Wales Government through CreateNSW; and the City of Melbourne through Arts House.