02.    Ancestors Rising (2022)
Location: Alte Garzweiler Grube bei Frimmersdorf, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany

Video installation, drone flight over Garzweiler lignite pit, North-Rhine Westphalia (DE) 

Thanks to archaeologists Martin Street and Marcus Wild, the LVR Landesmuseum Bonn, Monrepos, Museum for Archaeology  and Human Behavioural Evolution, Guido Steffen, Robin Peters, Frank Moseler

Team: Casper Brink (camera), KIWI Aerial Shots (drone operations), Frank Broos en Susanne van der Steen (3D scan & print)

Generously funded by BBK-Projektbüro NEUSTART, Berlin (DE)

Ancestors Rising will be a site-specific intervention at the Garzweiler lignite mine in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. As a consequence of the large-scale excavation, many archeological sites have been unearthed, providing insights into different layers of human history that would otherwise be kept unseen. Nevertheless, the majority of the artefacts and monuments get demolished before they are even discovered and archaeologists are working in a race against the clock to save as much as possible from the devastating claws of the excavators.

In 1987, archaeologists made a unique discovery in the middle of the Garzweiler mine when they found two 10.000-year-old antler frontlets. These extremely rare objects were most likely part of a shamanic garb, worn during important ceremonies in the Stone Age. According to the scientists who studied the objects, the antlers may have symbolised a connection with the wider universe, reaching out into the cosmos from the top of the head like antennae. The Mesolithic shaman created change in the physical world from the visions he received from the universe, affecting health, fertility, crops and hunt. 

Next to equipping us with the technical information about the age of this cultural landscape, the antler headdress’ symbolical meaning might be of an even stronger, potentially activistic quality. It reconnects us back to a time when humans still saw themselves as part of the wider environment. Rituals of sacrifice and worship were meant to keep the gods satisfied, it kept humans in check with the forces of nature,contributing to a holistic balance with their surroundings. In the Anthropocene, this balance has been disturbed. At the same time, the Stone Age can be seen as the turning point in human history. The cultivation of fire and the start of agriculture might have been the first indications of the nature-culture dichotomy.

Ancestors Rising aims to revisit this point of departure in order to rethink the role of humans in this particular environment and to envision ways to reconnect with the intrinsic nature of the land. The work will reactivate the antler artefact through a ritualistic intervention on site by temporarily bringing the archeological object back to its exact find place. Nowadays, the geographical coordinates point towards a location in the sky, since all surrounding earth has been excavated. Therefore, a drone will be used to fly the object to its original location. To make this possible, a replica is printed from a 3D scan of one of the original antlers. This new object is then redesigned to form a new instrument together with the drone, merging the ancient with the contemporary. The ritualistic replacement will be open to the public and organised together with an event for which we will invite guest speakers (local archeologists, geologists and activists) who will further contextualise the work. The intervention will be documented from the drone itself and exhibited at a later stage.

Ancestors Rising from Deep Time Agency on Vimeo.

© Deep Time Agency, 2022
 Contact: deeptimeagency@gmail.com