Lowry art

Shot Under the Volcano

Institute of Art and Technology

Installation celebrates Lowry's work  

The project

The new multimedia artwork, Shot Under the Volcano, was inspired by the 1947 novel, Under the Volcano, by Wirral-born author, Malcolm Lowry. The unique installation, Shot Under the Volcano, is the first output from a creative collaboration between the Liverpool-based international artist, John Hyatt, newly-appointed Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of ART LABS with the design agency, Uniform.

The artwork was installed at Bluecoat in Liverpool as part of their 300th anniversary and as part of Under the Volcano, 70 Years On: A Malcolm Lowry Conference held at LJMU and Bluecoat in July 2017, when the city welcomed noted Lowry scholars from UK, Canada, New Zealand, the US and Europe.

Shot Under the Volcano builds a unique one-to-one interaction between the viewer and the text of the novel. The installation is subject to age verification and an official is on hand to authorise participation. The viewer chooses a shot from two bottles of clear liquid – one is pure water, the other is 70% proof firewater and the choice is their own. Sensors detect the preference and the installation calculates an individual fortune by delivering a section of the novel chosen at random for the participant from a bank of digital sound clips narrated and recorded by Hyatt.


Hyatt and Uniform have worked with a fantastic team of collaborators. The artist, Mike Chavez-Dawson, plays the part of the Mexican policeman (helmet sourced by Suzanne Jennions of Try and Lilly Ltd, Liverpool). The work has been executed with assistance from the expertise of the team of the Printmaking and Fashion areas of Liverpool School of Art and Design, Hannah Fray, Paul Davidson, and Cathy Reilly; The Tapestry, Liverpool’s Fabric District; and a community group of highly talented young Liverpudlians, Dot Russell-Gajos, Hattie Russell-Gajos, Nina Butterworth and Theo Butterworth, facilitated by the artists, Amy Russell and Fiona Stirling.


White at the Bluecoat the installation was used by 36 leading Lowry scholars from across the world. The artwork will now take up residence at Sensor City, Liverpool's new centre for the development of sensor technologies and industries, to celebrate Hyatt becoming Sensor City's artist-in-residence.