Miriam Sentler      

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Diver with the fish-fossil replica, shortly before the dive into the Blausteinsee.

The Blausteinsee, an artifical lake in North-Rhine Westphalia,
Germany, future quarry Zukunft-West (Future-West, 1971).
The lake represents the geographical birth area of Joseph Faber, Miriam’s grandfather.

Descent into the Future II (2021)

In collaboration with artist Wouter Osterholt. Performance, video.

Exactly one year after the fish-fossil was replicated, it was replaced on its original finding spot within the Blausteinsee. By doing so, we performed a ritual which closed the material cycle of this landscape by returning an archaeological object to its thoroughly changed finding place. The fish fossil was found here in the 1970s when the site was still a lignite excavation site named ‘Zukunft-West (Future-West) and originates from the Pliocene; a time when the landscape was also covered by water. After the excavation site closed, the pit was transformed into a deep lake, accelerating the changing of the landscape from fluid to concrete, and again to fluid matter.

Carried by two local divers, the fossil was brought 40 meter down inside the lake. To our immense surprise, the only fish caught on film by the divers were Round Goby’s - the exact fish species which used to live in this landscape during the Pliocene and which ascended from the fossilized fish preserved in the archaeological find we were returning. On its way down, the divers filmed this fish species and the industrial remnants of the underwatermuseum which was once placed here by the lignite industry, illustrating the idle hope to make this place into a new, bustling diving hotspot and showing how the water itself reacted throughout time to the industrial changes within the landscape, causing an unbearable ecological scenario underneath the water surface. Amongst ambivalent objects like sunken car tires, Christmas trees and toilet seats, the fish fossil now stays in the depth as a valuable and meaningful object, showing the site-specific history and changing of this landscape to the divers visiting the perished underwatermuseum.

The work is part of the first chapter of an ongoing research collaboration with artist Wouter Osterholt. A website of our joint initiative and exhibition announcements for the presentation of the work will be shared soon. The film was made with the kind help of divers Wiely Goorden (carrier) and Eric Linden (camera-man).


Divers entering the Blausteinsee. June 2021.

The fish fossil in the Blausteinsee before the dive. June 2021

Browsing the map of the underwatermuseum and selecting the original finding location of the fish-fossil. June 2021

Divers preparing for the dive. In the back, one can see the chimneys of the still active lignite industry. June 2021.

Stills Descent into the Future II - Returning the fish fossil replica to its finding place in the lake.

Still Descent into the Future II - Round Goby in the Blausteinsee.