Anarcheology, 2014

Christoph Keller
Anarcheology, 2014
HD video, black and white, silent, 12 minutes 40 seconds
Installation view, Sharjah Biennial 13, 2017
Courtesy of Esther Schipper, Berlin and the artist
Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

Overview

Christoph Keller’s films and installations are often preoccupied with knowledge systems and the transmission of knowledge and meaning across time. Central to his work is an exploration of the performative aspects of video, spoken language and writing and the various temporal registers of each medium.

Anarcheology (2014) delves into the artist’s time spent in the Amazon and his thinking about archaeology, which emerges in correlation with nineteenth-century occidental practices that tie the act of nation building to the expansion of ancient empires. The work’s title reflects his exploration of written language and oral traditions, as it fuses ‘anarchism’—stemming from his fascination with the desire to leave no physical trace, as is the case in oral traditions—and ‘archaeology’, the study of cultures grounded in physical artefacts, including the written language.

Part of Keller’s ongoing study of knowledge acquisition and organisation, his visual essay explores Western engagement with other cultures via encounters between written language and oral tradition. Conceived as a travelogue that traverses perceptual thresholds between orality and writing, it juxtaposes three different rhetorical regimes, alternating between a methodological conundrum, a personal story and a Yanomami myth of origins. The text examines orality through a film that is paradoxically silent. Black-and-white photographs chart a voyage from a bridge by the city of Manaus and enter Amazonia’s depths, seemingly absent of human traces. Throughout the film, this concrete bridge that appears in the very first images remains the only sign of human presence, a speculative look at an ‘archaeological site of the future’ that has been left behind.

This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 13.

Artwork Images

Anarcheology

Christoph Keller
2014

HD video, black and white, silent, 12 minutes 40 seconds
Installation view, Sharjah Biennial 13, 2017
Courtesy of Esther Schipper, Berlin and the artist
Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

View all images
Anarcheology Image

Christoph Keller
2014

HD video, black and white, silent, 12 minutes 40 seconds
Installation view, Sharjah Biennial 13, 2017
Courtesy of Esther Schipper, Berlin and the artist
Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

Close images
 Image

Related

Anarcheology

Keller, Christoph

In his videos and installations frequently resembling experimental configurations, Christoph Keller uses the discursive possibilities of art to investigate the themes of science and its utopias.