ARCHEOLOGY
of the invisible 

Installation - Sound design - Art direction - Production design

Project exhibited at Espace Hippomène in Geneva - 2017

Archeology of the invisible is a project about synthetic archeologic sites. It shows an modern interpretation of ancient artefacts, the "Cupules" phenomenon.  Those new artefacts are instruments that make  sound out of the magnetism of your body.

 

The sound is made from the contact between your body and the metal pieces. It symbolizes the invisible potential of human beings : from their conductive and magnetic composition to the myths and stories they imagine.

 

The project is developed in parallel with archeologists from Switzerland.

Through sculpture and sound I create current interprétations of the remains on which our understanding of the origins of humankind relies. I re-draw these objects to bring together a being form the 21st century  with one from the prehistoric times through a tangible object.

 

Initially, the project focus on visual and theoretical research on how communities settle. What objects and areas determine communication and social organisation? Why and how do myths and beliefs help communities bond? How do cultural places and objects rule over the group’s cohesion? How do these places and objects delineate an area of sharing?

FR

 

Le phénomène des cupules est l'un des deux sujets archéologiques que j’ai choisi d’étudier. Une cupule est un creux circulaire fait par l'homme (préhistorique surtout) à la surface d'une dalle ou d'un rocher. Le second sujet qui intrigue la communauté scientifique est celui des spéléofacts de Bruniquel (Tarn-et-Garonne, France). 

Dans ces deux sujets, on remarque des traces humaines anciennes dont le sens nous est inconnu et dont nous ne pouvons uniquement supposer que leur fonction serait immatérielle (mythes, rituels, etc). Les archéologues étant dans une impasse, faute de preuves et de données tangibles, les pronostiques et les extrapolations sont limités et demeurent caducs. 

Ainsi pour continuer la réflexion des archéologues, j'ai choisi de mener une recherche plastique et théorique sur la manière dont s’établit une communauté. Quels sont les objets et les espaces qui conditionnent la communication et l’organisation sociale? Pourquoi et de quelle manière les mythes et les croyances sont-ils le ciment de la communauté? En quoi les lieux et objets cultuels régissent-ils la cohésion du groupe? En quoi ces lieu et objets délimitent-ils une zone de partage?

CUPULE

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.

3 RULES 

  • 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