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*I speak of stones that have always lain in the open or rested in a homely nest in the recesses of earth’s dark veins. They hail from the very beginnings of the planet, at times the offshoot of another star. If so, they carry marks of their twisting in space as the stigmata of their terrible fall. They belong to before the time of man; when man appeared, he did not alter them with marks of his art or industry; he did not craft them further, for some trivial, luxurious or historical purposes. The stones perpetuate their own memory alone. They remained as they were, sometimes fresher, more legible, but always strictly true to themselves and nothing else (...).
I speak of those stones yet older than life itself that remain long after life on the cooled planets, if life had indeed the good fortune to burgeon. I speak of stones that do not even have to wait for death, that have nothing to do but to let slide over their surface the sand, the rain or the surf, storms, time.
Centuries have passed. The distant descendants of these deprived manufacturers can now call on a quasi unlimited power. They are only able to read in the stones, as nothing more than stones standing directly above the ground - that their baffled science designates by a Greek term, the first evidence of their own obscure ambition, just as disproportionate, as unpolished and as solitary. And they wonder at the fact that misshapen upright pillars initiated the entire history of their species..
Roger Caillois, Stones, 1966
The ruins of a mal Spanish village, Belchite in Aragon, are preserved as a monument of propaganda since 1937, in remembrance of the civil war bombings. Established in a desert valley, those ruins seem willing to gradually come back to their original state of a stone field. This reflexion leads to a search on the mineral landscape where the stones are seen as a potential memory holder. Though these, the possibility of the representation of an original space, of a time before History as well as the time coming after appears.
The research has been done in Spain in the marble quarries of Markina, the ruined village of Belchite, the aragonese caves and the Madrid mineralogical museum. It ended in Hiroshima in Japan, with the video installation showing a slow apparition of one of the unique stone ruins of the city, in Genbaku.
Musée de minéralogie MINES ParisTech
Since more than 200 years, preserved in the setting the Hôtel de Vendôme, the mineralogical collections of the MINES ParisTech are among the most complete and remarkable in the world. They include some 100 000 samples, of which 4 000 are displayed, corresponding to around 2 900 mineral species.