Descent into the Future

This work is made in collaboration with Miriam Sentler and formulates an alternative exhibition module that returns archaeological objects to the lignite sites where they were found. The installation focuses on the discovery of a unique fossil from the “Zukunft-West” (Future-West) lignite quarry in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. During excavations in this quarry, a 12 million years old fish fossil from the Miocene era was found. The discovery symbolizes the sacrifice of living ecosystems for fossil fuel, a natural product created through the death of ancient ecosystems. In the Anthropogenic era in which it surfaces, the fossil closes a cycle by emphasizing the material changing of this landscape, since the quarry was again filled with water after the excavations, turning it into the ‘Blausteinsee’. The installation shows the first steps in a plan to return the fish fossil to the original location in the lake, in the form of an underwater museum for divers. For this installation, the finding place of the fossil was retraced on old maps of the quarry, and the original fish fossil was replicated, making it again fit for life underwater.