Nothing More Permanent Than Temporary

S. A. D. of Itself II: Future Relics bookpublication , 2018


Sometimes Archaeology Dreams of Itself II: Future Relics embodies the metaphysics of a journey Baratto & Mouravas undertook in Aruba, in the Dutch Antilles, in June 2018, while researching an ‘Atlantic Triangle’.

On the first cornerstone of such triangle, there is SS Antilla: a Nazi shipwreck that sunk off the coast of Aruba in 1940, as an aftermath of the German invasion of the Netherlands. The second vertice of this geometry is Antilia: a phantom island with seven harbours, which appeared in the nautical charts of medieval cartographers before the Atlantic became widely explored, and eventually disappeared from mapping as no one ever found it. The third point is the Antilles, the cluster of islands that Aruba is part of. The archipelago is an extension of the Dutch Colonial history and was named after the promises that the New World of Antilia and its sister Atlantis could bring into existence. This geometry materialises –in the book and video installation– as a mosaic in time & space.

Through the employment of both historical and mythical languages, such construction builds a symbolic universe with complex ambivalences. A search for utopia is corrupted by dystopian memories. A quest for the unknown takes place in the ultimate touristic island. Death and immortality merge into a decaying artefact of World War II. The Western conception of the Caribbean as Paradise contrasts with the touristic Caribbean Hell, as described by Angelique V. Nixon with “Tourism is the New Colonialism” (Resisting Paradise, 2015). Thus, the journey represents a mythopoetic–historical speculation of an Atlantic Past as seen through the experience of Antilla, both as a Nazi- wreck and an invisible island. As the future is an imminent moment, already inscribed into the present instant, the visual labyrinth of Future Relics re-frames a given past into an immeasurable utopia.

Finally, the printed volume, in connection with the moving images, is an aesthetic and tangible guide to Archeo-Dreaming, a practice initiated by Baratto & Mouravas somewhere between the historic and oneiric memory we all share.

Book design: Viktor Gogas and Bend, Book Production: Viktor Gogas and Bend, Published and distributed by Dolce Pub, 2018.