As it now stands, extinction is barely speculative. Or maybe: it is barely speculative to talk about fiction
Gregory Chatonsky and Dominique Sirois are doing it anyway, following on from their joint project in Taipei, Télofossiles with Extinct Memories II in 2015 as a part of a larger collaborative series: “of speculative fictions on extinction”.Extinct Memories II opened at Brussels’ IMAL on September 11, running until its extinction on October 18, 2015. The press release began with this thought: “In a few thousands of years, when humanity has become extinct, something will dig the soil of the Earth and find a datacenter. Miraculously, it will have access to the contents of these hard drives and try to reconstruct the traces of our world.”
That extinction is fascinating only so long as it is our own is perhaps the most unifying of human deficiencies, and Chatonsky and Sirois create an entire project out of wondering what happens to humankind once we’ve finally dug ourselves into the ground. The problem —or the solace —is knowing that even long after our bodies are extinct, our technological footprints will not be. Both will be found underground, to be sure: one decomposing and the other biding time in a Google datacenter, waiting to be mined for all that is interesting or relevant. “The Web is therefore not regarded as a means of communication between human beings,” Chatonsky states in an interview with L’Art Même, “but as a device for capturing the common sense of our species, and recording it in databases (big data)”.**
Exhibition photos, top right.