of the invisible
Installation - Sound design - Art direction - Production design
Project exhibited at Espace Hippomène in Geneva - 2017
Phénomène archéologique mystérieux, les cupules sont des creux circulaires à la surface de rochers faits par des humains sur tous les continents, de la préhistoire jusqu’au 19e siècle.
Dans ces sites archéologiques synthétiques, les cupules deviennent une interface de communication fictionnelle,
qui nous permettrait de rentrer en contact avec nos ancêtres et constituerait un réseau de communication archaïque.
Le projet a été développé grâce à l'aide des archéologues
du musée d'archéologie et d'histoire Lausanne.
A mysterious archaeological phenomenon, cupules are circular hollows in the surface of rocks made by humans on all continents, from prehistoric times to the 19th century.
In these synthetic archaeological sites, the cupules become a fictional communication interface, which would allow us to get in touch with our ancestors and constitute an archaic communication network.
The project was developed with the help of archaeologists from the Museum of Archaeology and History Lausanne.
Photography : Michel Giesbrecht
In a surreal setting, archaeologists dig up two synthetic archaeological sites. They use a methodology based on archaeological tools and geographical surveys to provide the beginnings of a field survey and to make the scenery and the unearthed artefacts almost real.
From 2016 to 2017, I followed the archaeologists of the Cantonal Museum of Archaeology and History of Lausanne on different sites throughout Switzerland. I studied their methods in order to be able to immerse myself in them and then make this film and my own archaeological sites.
Cavities dug in rocks by human beings.
From Arctic to Patagonia
From Pacific to Atlantic
All over the world
From the Lower Paleolithic
to the 20th century
Cupules are circular man-made hollows on the surface of a rock or a rock slab. They are very difficult to date, they spans the time from lower Paleolithic (200 000 years ago) to the 20th century, they are everywhere in the world and we don’t know what is their meaning or function.
An uncanny light, like an aura.
Sounds, music or voices.
A totemic object which brings everyone around it, like fire, or here archeologic artefacts.
We don't know which functionality they could have had. We don't understand the sense or the meaning of their presence.
I create my own archeological artefacts. The shape of metal pieces is my interpretation of cupule. to contextualize my modern interpretation of cupule. I use the film to contextualize my work, and to adopt the sight of the archeologists who are digging, seeking for something. I re-methodology their work. I went on several real archeologic sites to adopt this point of view. The film is also a demonstration of how to use the installations and how to make appear your invisibility.
I use here and in the film the objects that archeologist use, as the yellow rope, the markers, some scientific and administrative files, a shovel, etc.
I use the archeologic codes to contextualize my work in a scientific way, and then to propose extrapolations from those concret facts.
The most intriguing part is that we find them everywhere. On figures of Easter Island, on menhirs and megaliths of Europe, in India, in the Caribbean, in Martinique and many are located in Switzerland.
We don’t know what it is and we don’t have any clue to make an archeological breakthrough. It is a subject of controversy in the archeological field that I seize, as a designer, to overcome the scientific limitations and propose something more speculative.
« A review of the secure ethnographic interpretations shows the extremely limited availability of scientifically based explanations, and also that these cannot be archaeologically evident. The incredible longevity of the phenomenon of cupule production, which spans from the Lower Paleolithic to the 20th century, is then reviewed. Their world-wide ubiquity is considered, and a basis for their scientific study is formulated.
This involves primarily issues related to lithology, technology of production, the role of taphonomy in effecting the extant characteristics of the evidence, and redefining the category and its distinguishing characteristics in that light.
Generically, the term cupule refers to a small, cup-shaped feature, structure or organ, such as, for example, the cup at the base of an acorn or one of the suckers on the feet of certain flies. Cupules may seem simple features requiring little technological explanation, until one examines them more closely and in their wider context. Before they can be considered effectively, their identification needs to be clarified and the many similar phenomena they have been confused with are considered here.
A review of the secure ethnographic interpretations shows the extremely limited availability of scientifically based explanations, and also that these cannot be archaeologically evident. The incredible longevity of the phenomenon of cupule production, which spans from the Lower Paleolithic to the 20th century, is then reviewed. Their world-wide ubiquity is considered, and a basis for their scientific study is formulated.
The roughly hemispherical features that we are concerned with here, pounded into horizontal, inclined and vertical rock surfaces, probably constitute the most common motif type in world rock art. They occur not only in every continent other than Antarctica, it appears they have been produced by many of the rock art traditions, transcending all major divisions of human history. In short, this perhaps simplest of all petroglyph motifs is so ubiquitous that its surviving representatives can be expected to outnumber all other motifs found in the world’s rock art. »
CUPULES, Robert G. Bednarik, article published in Rock Art Research, volume 25, 2008, pp. 61-62.
Research and parallel projects
Photography : Michel Giesbrecht