Miriam Sentler      

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Fish tank, Replica of a fossilized fish found in lignite site ‘Future-West’, water from the Blausteinsee.

The work was shown at Nieuw Dakota Amsterdam (NL), as part of the group exhibition ‘Ecotones - Bodies in Tension’ in June 2020. The show was curated by Mariana Lanari.

Thanks to Uli Lieven, Elena Khurtova, Montei Di Matteo, Miriam van Rijsingen, Mona Steinhauesser, Albath Goldschmiede Aachen, family Draaisma, Syver Petersen and Sadie Hale.

Descent into the Future (2020)

In collaboration with Wouter Osterholt. Installation (fishtank, maps, picture) 185x50x50 cm (fishtank), 60x80x75 cm (map), 20x30 cm (print)

Descent into the Future formulates an alternative exhibition module which returns archaeological objects to the lignite sites where they were found. The installation focuses on a 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 represents the only fossil of a fish found in the wider area, and symbolizes the sacrifice of living ecosystems for fossil fuel, a natural product created through the dying of ancient ecosystems. In the Anthropogenic era in which it surfaces, the fossil gives a unique insight into a non-human period when this landscape was still covered with water; and thus closes a cycle, 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 a set up for a temporary 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. The fish fossil is united with the Black Goby, the fish which ascended from the fossil, and the water of the Blausteinsee.

              Exhibition view ‘Ecotones - Bodies in Tension’ at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam (NL)

Exhibition view ‘Ecotones - Bodies in Tension’ at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam (NL)

    .                   Map of previous landscape (1904) and new diving map of the recultivated landscape (Blausteinsee).

            Finding location of the original fish-fossil on the diver map Blausteinsee, underneath a map of the excavated landscape with the original settlements.

                    Finder of the Fish fossil, photograph taken by Uli Lieven.

                    Visitors during ‘Ecotones - Bodies in Tension’, Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam(NL)

                   Detail ‘Descent into the Future’: Round Goby fish (ascended from fossilized fish species).