Soon to be inaugurated in August, 2005 is a 3 story high (H: 12.4MT x W: 8.0MT) digital mural at the University of Concepción, Chile, where in an unprecedented manner; the artwork encompasses the history of Chilean mining from pre-Columbian period (c. 2.200 B.C.) to contemporary times. The author, visual artist Alexander Sutulov, based his iconographic study in a thesis of how early metallurgical activity in the Andean world where the oldest evidence of work in copper was Mina Perdida near Lima, Peru during the Initial Period (2.000 – 900 B.C.) had a direct impact in the development of Chile as one of the mayor mining countries in the world. Contrary to common knowledge where gold and silver is usually associated to pre-Columbian cultures, it was not until a more complex metallurgy developed with the use of copper and its alloys allowed pre-Colombian civilization unfold to its full dimension.
Paradoxically, today we are confronted with environmental issues where our empirical knowledge in copper production is a key aspect in finding viable solutions to clean technologies with by-products such as sulphuric acid in order to prevent a complete global collapse.
In this respect, the History of Chilean Mining Mural is a reminder of what lies ahead of us, where critical decisions have to be taken. Generally speaking, our historical relationship to the richness of a mineral world is of complete mystery to the majority of human population and yet our global economy and life quality are intimately related to this phenomenon.
The two sections of the mural regarding historical and mineral processes, brings forward the archetypes of each historical period such as the Bronze Age, Spanish Conquest, Colonial Period, Industrial Revolution, etc. In the case of mineral processes, the model of reference was “El Teniente” which is the biggest underground mine in the world today. With more than 3.000 kilometres of tunnels, the challenge was to convey the magnitude and complexity of such endeavour.
The legacy of mining history is one to be considered and foremost, reconciled in order to be able to confront an uncertain future of non-renewable natural resources. The work presented by Alexander who emerges from a digital language, constitutes a new genre in itself, where the established dialogue is a propositional one. All previous pictorial medium have been somehow synthesised onto an “electronic substrate” where the final result is the sum of simultaneous episodes. This sort of parallel thinking emphasises our own present nature, where “reality” is perpetually moving from tangible to virtual or visa versa. Most important is the idea of “imagery coexistence” which permeates throughout the telling of a story.
A sense of enthusiasm is perceived amongst the people who were directly or indirectly involved with the project, this notion of belonging is a positive sign at a time where cooperation is indispensable. The long-term objective is to make this experience extensive to the rest of the world through a travelling show and hopefully similar initiatives will be taken in other countries in terms of recognizing the power of art at the service of human achievement.
As one of the orginal artists at absolutearts.com Alexander Sutulov has promoted his work with a Premiere Portfolio since 2000. View more of his work at: www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/s/sasha/ or at his personal website: www.sutulov.com