Bompas & Parr Harness Lava and Lighting for Epic BBQ

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Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
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Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, cooking with lightning. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, cooking with lightning. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, cooking with lightning. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, cooking with lightning. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, cooking with lightning. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.
Bompas & Parr, cooking with lightning. Photo: Sam Bompas, courtesy Bompas & Parr.

In their latest project, London-based conceptual artist duo Bompas & Parr, moonlighting as both scientist and chef, harnessed the power of lighting and hot lava for a summer BBQ, searing steak and corn on the cob at super-hot temperatures.

As reported by design boom, Bompas & Parr enlisted Syracuse University professor Robert Wysock, whose improbable—yet awesome—specialty is artificially manufacturing lava, to conduct a sizzling 2,100° cookout over of a stream of molten liquid pouring out of an industrial bronze furnace. The grill was placed over a specially-designed rig lined with dry ice, with a spout to catch the lava overflow, and a hazmat suit-like get-up for the brave grill-master .

The project, appropriately titled Cooking with Lava, cooked two raw 100 ounce rib-eye steaks almost instantaneously, but the artists’ urge to harness the power of extreme temperatures remained unsated. For their next trick, they turned up the heat to 50,000°—the temperature of a lightening bolt, fives times more fiery than the sun’s surface.

Teaming up with Tony Davies, who runs a high voltage laboratory at the University of Southampton in the UK, Bompas & Parr used a transformer to generate 200,000 volts of electricity, capable of cooking a steak in microseconds. “The recipe came to me in a dream,” Bompas told design boom. “Perhaps in the future lightning will find its way into every imaginable culinary situation.”

The artists are no strangers to unconventional art-making. Their exhibition “Funland: Pleasures & Perils of the Erotic Fairground,” currently on view at New York City’s Museum of Sex, is an erotic fairground installation, stimulating all five senses with an interactive boob bouncy castle, breast-shaped candy, and other R-rated delights (see artnet News report). They also rung in the new year with a “multi-sensory fireworks display” (included in artnet News‘ firework art roundup), with fruity scents accompanying each colorful explosion.

Bompas & Parr have released a video documenting the preparation of their lava-grilled steaks (which, unfortunately, look well-done to the point of near-incineration). Needless to say, don’t try this at home.

Watch Bompas & Parr’s avant-garde grilling session:


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