Achæoscillator displays the drastic weather conditions of the southernmost island in the world on a virtualized representation of the end/beginning of the Americas. A one-person experience, where the research presents traces and connections between the ancestors of the Yagán community, the Kawesqar and Selk’nam and the Antarctic, Scotia and South America continental plates, offering an inestimable and uncontrollable source of Gaia’s power.
Almost 100 years ago the artist and explorer Rockwell Kent crossed the Baldivia Chain between Seno Almirantazgo and the Beagle Channel via the Lapataia Valley. His documentation* of the landscape and climate is one of the first descriptions of this passage and serves as an important historic reference. Especially interesting in our context is his perspective as an artist becoming an explorer – sensing, registering, translating and documenting in an unconventional way.
The intention of the research trip under the scientific direction of Alfredo Prieto is to highlight the significance of indigenous traces present in Tierra del Fuego, inter-ethnic traces which are bio-cultural routes of the past (stemming from the exchange of goods and genes). In particular, we will explore potential indigenous cultural marks that Rockwell Kent described, traces that would connect the ancestors of the Yagán community with the Kawesqar and Selk’nam in the Almirantazgo Seno area.
Despite their substantial archeological importance, there is currently no possibility to carry out full archeological studies since that would require excavation with the prior permission of the National Monuments Council. For now, an ethnographic survey will be carried out together with a multidisciplinary team in order to look for potential cultural traces that justify future excavation. To this end, we will be using non-conventional search tools and analyze the technical possibility of developing non-invasive prospecting instrumentation.
Although the search for cultural footprints is one of our goals, this expedition along the Kent Pass will also deal with the impact of climate change in this region and will continue the general search for the potential of interaction between art and science for knowledge production and mediation. We’ll also continue the collection of materials for the exhibition that will be organized jointly with artist Nicolás Spencer in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago (March-July 2021).
*Rockwell Kent, Voyaging, Southward from the Strait of Magellan, G.P. Putnam’s Sons/The Knickerbocker Press, 1924
From 7 to 22December 2019, a second trip is going further south to sharpen possible research directions. On suggestion of the archaeologist Alfredo Prieto the group is intending to search for a possible prehistoric meeting place of the ancient tribes in the Bahia Blanca Valley.
The first field trip in the frame of the actual Terra Ignota project was carried out from 2 until 18 March 2019. Starting from Punta Arenas, the group traveled as far south as possible by car to the end point of the road constructions in the Cardon Central.
The aim of this first trip was mainly to get a bit more familiar with Tierra del Fuego – place, history and context and to define potential interesting locations and research questions.
Around 2015 Nicolas Spencer initiated a series of artistic explorations down to the most southern tip of the world under the working title “El Comienzo del Mundo – The Beginning of the World”. With different groups of artistst and scientists he traveled to remote places in Tierra del Fuego, the Beagle Channel, Cape Horn and Antartica.