The Mirage of History

Curated by Yann Chateigné Tytelman

The Mirage of History presents a series of artists’ practices that share a documentary approach to explorations of the spatio-temporal unknown. The point of departure is a visionary film made by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson in 1968, in which Smithson walks with Michael Heizer through the captivating scenery of Mono Lake in California, reading excerpts from geological textbooks as invocations of an “archaeology of the future.” In a similar way, Armando Andrade Tudela films the Marcahuasi plateau in Peru: his gaze lingers on this landscape, a place resounding with manifold stories and representations, as though it holds traces of a “cosmic antiquity”. In their attempt to locate the “islands of history” (Marshall Sahlins), these artists seek out spaces of reinvention and permanent revolution that contravene the conditions of possibility for history itself. Joachim Koester documents the remains of Aleister Crowley's Thélèma Abbey, where filmmaker Kenneth Anger and the sexologist Alfred C. Kinsey once met. Michael Stevenson retells the story of Manfred Gnädinger, alias Man—a modern Robinson Crusoe whose life was destroyed by the ecological disaster of the Prestige oil tanker spill in 2002. And Mariana Castillo Deball recounts the story of a female scientist from CERN in Geneva, interspersed with images of gems from the collection of the French writer Roger Callois.

Marcahuasi | Armando Andrade Tudela/Peru-German 2009. 11 mins.
Entropology | Mariana Castillo Deball/Mexico 2009. 8 mins.
Atomic Park | Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster/France 2003. 8 mins.
Orrery | Daniel Gustav Cramer/Germany 2012. 20 mins.
Mono Lake | Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson/USA 1968-2004. 20 mins.
Morning of the Magicians | Joachim Koester/Denmark 2005. 5 mins.
Holy Precursor | Uriel Orlow/Switzerland-Great Britain 2011. 14 mins.
On How Things Behave | Michael Stevenson/New Zealand-Germany 2010. 16 mins.

Total approximate running time: 102 mins.


Yann Chateigné Tytelman (b. 1977) is a critic and curator. He currently serves as Dean of the Visual Arts Department at Geneva University of Art and Design in Switzerland. He was previously the Chief Curator at CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux. His recent projects include Seismology (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012), The Curtain of Dreams: Hypnagogic Visions (IAC Villeurbanne, 2011-12), and Explorations in French Psychedelia (CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art, Bordeaux, 2008-09).

Presented in collaboration with Geneva University of Art and Design.