May 28, 2021

How do we Predict the Future?

Rachel Blackwell

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Bronze / Steel / Water / MistSoothsayer, 20211000h x 600w x 550 b (mm)

This work began with a find on a beach. A coin-sized piece of chalcedony which was scanned into photogrammetry software, scaled up, then 3D printed. Photogrammetry is increasingly implemented in archaeology and enables ancient artefacts to occupy a digital and immaterial space, therefore removing the notion of site. I am intrigued as to how this alters our perception of time and space. ‘Soothsayer’ is intended to invoke links with the mysterious phenomena of monolithic standing stones, incorporating the futurist aesthetic of Sci-Fi with the enigmatic symbolism of ancient artefacts notably Mayan obsidian mirrors. Their black high-gloss surfaces were gazed into during scrying, a method of divining future events. My rock was found, transported, then transformed; through a process of digitisation and rendering into a physical bronze object. The resulting sculptural body questions whether the tradition of divination may now be manifesting in relation to the Anthropocene, the unofficial unit of geologic time we now occupy, where human activity has impacted significantly on the climate and environment. I propose that science’s projection of the Anthropocene may be little more than modern day soothsaying, where peering into uncertain data has replaced an occult gaze into obsidian.