‘A mirror image. Although at first glance it might not look it. One element sophisticated the other crude. One smooth and thin, the other angular and lumpen. One the produced by the mechanisms of a factory, the other by the mechanics of the Earth (and the mechanics of one stone hammering into another, with the aid of some sweaty human individual). One brand new, the other ancient. Opposites you might think. But, then again, most of the time appearances give little clue as to how one thing relates to the other. You need to look at the underlying structures. Both are made of materials derived from the silicate family. Two tools, separated by thousands of years in terms of their manufacture. One for computing one for stabbing, cutting and bashing. Both at the technological cutting edge of their times. Juxtaposed rather than conjoined. A rock trapped in a disco ball. A sample being transported from Mars. It looks at once museological and futuristic.
Perhaps the whole is a sign of progress. Or that lack of it. Depending on which you decide is first among these equals. Or which object is most useful for you at the time. At heart it’s a matter of perspective. Time and space. An event spreading out in multiple directions that might appear differently depending on your point of view. Like the shifting landscapes in a block of jesmonite, carved so as to represent and conceal a multitude of forms simultaneously, each one visible when you assume a different angle or occupy a different slice of time. 13
Which 13 Which finds a corollary in the world as viewed through according to different viewpoints within social-media or via alternative web browsers, via alternative truths or facts.’
Mark Rappolt, excerpt from ‘Caught Knapping’
according to different viewpoints within social-media or via alternative web browsers, via alternative truths or facts.
Silicon waver with mesolithic flint tool hand knapped by experimental archeologist Dr. James Dilley
The mysterious lunar-like landscape of Grime’s Graves in Norfolk is the 4,500 year old legacy of Neolithic flint miners. Around the time the stones at Stonehenge were first raised – miners dug over 400 pits here to extract flint from which they fashioned tools, weapons and ceremonial objects.
Installation view ‘Under the Sun’, Troika & Liz Deschenes, Rindon Johnson, Max Goelitz, 2 Mar – 14 Apr 2022, Photo: Dirk Tacke
Evolutionary Composite. Panning back to the beginnings: flint, of the silicate mineral family and thus a salt, is not only the first tool used by man- and womankind to carve, cut, and dig, but is, more than thirty thousand years ago, also the first substance to be actively mined (an early indication of the circular spiral of our silicate dependency).
Jump-cut to our present-day obsession with silicon and its uncanny valley: birthplace of the integrated circuit, the microprocessor, home and HQ of countless Fortune 1,000 businesses, a lot of capitalism, and a growing hamlet of neural networks. The metal-oxide-silicon field-effect transistor, or MOSFET, was invented in 1959 and has since become the most widely manufactured device in our history, ushering in the Silicon Age. Now attach a knapped flint to a silicon wafer as Troika have done in their series Evolutionary Composite, and here you have a good-looking amuse-bouche of technological progress whose components neatly bookend the history of humanity’s tools.
Eva Wilson, ‘Salting the Earth’