Future Fossils: Deep Future and Archaeology

Our ancestral inheritance is bound by migration, exchange and conquest. With the gods and semi-divine heroes there also travelled a mental cargo, the baggage of stories – muthoi, thus myths. Although during these times – the Greek alphabet was on the point of being invented, circulating in the many contexts of gods and heroes.

The beauty of ruins and archaeological sites is that its mysticism is unleashed through one’s imagination, filling in the voids one senses and views, when laying eyes upon such a fragmented and disembodied landscape. Objects lying around scattered, become entities – relics, belonging to what were immense temples either places of sacrifice, spaces of communal rite and lives perished.

Accessible for future generations through data, art, science and all knowledge assemblaged and entwined through the construction of stories and poetics, ruins of antiquity – be they Classical antiquities, both monuments and sculptures of past civilization, future fossils are future stories yet to be told; myths connecting to Deep Future.

Language as much as ancient monuments, ruins and artifacts thereof, belong to the notion of an everchanging landscape and deep sense of cultural synergy, forged by migration, whence our timely presence merges with the existence of ephemeral ‘bodies of forgotten civilization’. Materialised and non-material entities, objects likewise vowels uttered, brought together in a ritual performed, in Deep Future. Alas, a future odyssey is to be uncovered, along the Mediterranean shores and its hinterlands…

Sarah Nahas. Beirut, Lebanon 2016
Detail of sculpture, Cairo, Egyptian Museum. Egypt, 2019
View of the valley temple of the pharaoh Unas at Saqqara, fifth dynasty, 24th century BC. Egypt, 2019
Beirut. Lebanon, 2016
Roman ruins of Anjar. Lebanon, 2016
Danya Hammoud. Beirut, Lebanon 2016
Male bust in the Roman catacombs of Kôm esch-Schugâfa, in Alexandria, 2nd-4th century AD. Egypt, 2019
Detail of the pyramid of the pharaoh Cheops at Gizeh, fourth dynasty, 26th-25th century BC. Egypt, 2019
Standing limestone statue of Merensankh found at Gizeh, Pharaonic period, Alexandria, Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Egypt, 2019
Funerary complex of the pharaoh Djoser at Saqqara, 3rd dynasty, 27th century BC. Egypt, 2019
South court of the funerary complex of the pharaoh Djoser at Saqqara, 3rd dynasty, 27th century BC. Egypt, 2019
Roman baths from the site of Kôm el-Dikka, Alexandria, 4th century AD. Egypt, 2019
Botanical Garden, Palermo. Sicily, 2018
Elwan. Beirut, Lebanon, 2016
The Roman temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, 2nd-3rd century AD. Lebanon, 2016
Roman ruins of Anjar. Lebanon, 2016
Beirut. Lebanon 2016
Elwan. Beirut, Lebanon 2016

Journey and programme in Alexandria, Egypt, was sponsored – upon invitation by Full Professor dr. Miguel John Versluys, affiliated with The University of Leiden and the Department of Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology within context of the NWO-VICI project Innovating Objects, whereto an international conference was held at the Centre d’Études Alexandrines: Alexandria the cosmopolis: a global perspective, with as aim to provide a new perspective on the formation of the Roman Empire as a crucial example of Globalisation in world-history (Full Professor dr. Miguel John Versluys, Dr. Eleni Fragaki and Marie-Dominique Nenna, Director of Research, CNRS and Director of Centre d’Études Alexandrines).

During the stay in Egypt, research was done in  Alexandria and Cairo (December 2019) regarding “One”, A Letter to Eternity, a hybrid film- & visual art project; currently in development. In October 2019, the Netherlands Film Fund allocated a start subsidy, with as aim furthering a filmplan of  “One”, A Letter to Eternity in its conceptual phase.

Inspired by Greek tragedy, more so by mythology (comparative) – specifically Egyptian mythology in connotation with Hermetic philosophy and alchemy, as well as by Classical- and Mediterranean archaeology; all disciplines formed the basis of further research following the Phoenicians’ ancient maritime routes connecting the Levant to South-East Europe and North-Africa (and beyond). Over the years, the project took its current shape through several phases of research, since its conception whilst a three month artist-in-residence at Ashkal Alwan, from March 1st – June 1st 2016, in affiliation with the Mondriaan Fund in The Netherlands.

Project

Artifacts and ruins of antiquity – be they Classical antiquities, both monuments and sculptures of past civilization, belong to the notion of an everchanging landscape and deep sense of cultural synergy, linking our timely presence with the existence of ephemeral ‘bodies of forgotten civilization’. With the gods and semi-divine heroes there also travelled a mental cargo, the baggage of stories – muthoi, thus myths – or future fossils, connecting to Deep Future.

Project archive