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Avesta is a small industrial town in the Bergslagen region north of Stockholm.  Bergslagen is known for the mining and processing of iron and copper ores, beginning as early as 1000 AD.  Verket, the iron processing facility, was built along the Dalälven (Dal River) in the early 20th century.  The rich texture and glassy blue color of the building are due to the clinker bricks used in its construction – clinker bricks are made of slag, a waste product from the blast furnace used to process iron ore.  Verket now contains a variety of fascinating exhibitions, including a number of contemporary art exhibits each summer.  The ironworks come alive through an interactive exhibit in which, using a flashlight, the visitor can activate a number of processes.  These processes are abstractly represented, but through a powerful multi-sensory experience give the visitor a sense of the history of the ironworks.  The Martin Furnace Opera engages the audience through sound and light, illustrating the production of iron ingots.  According the Verket website,”The opera also mirrors life.  The women, men, children, energy, joy and sadness are described with music, light, heat and film.”avesta-41

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