About 15,000 years ago, an anonymous hand performed a remarkably systematic
movement and drew four lines onto a cold stone surface, creating the first
non-organic shape: a square. The exact purpose of this pure idea, embodied in
four hesitant strokes, remains speculative–as does the reason behind the rest
of the prehistoric legacy that we, quite one-sidedly, have labelled as cave art.
Regardless of that dispute, we can see an actual beginning of time, when humans started
associating the concept of temporality with spatiality and set out to leave marks.
This acknowledgment of our relative position in time is one of the forces driving the project
to future historians. Set in this unique environment of the ENCI quarry, which itself
stands for the passing of time as reflected by the accumulation of geological material,
the project bridges para-archeological and artistic practice.
The hand-outlines and pictographs found in the caves have their continuation in contemporary
graffiti tags found in urban spaces, represented in Maastricht by the abundance of
engravings in limestone.
The inscriptions found on built structures all over the city, have been brought back to
their site of origin–the ENCI quarry–and copied onto the surfaces created through the
extraction of the limestone blocks. Those carved out monumental hallways comprise a
bizarre system of negative-architecture. It is then no wonder that the particular
aura of the historical quarry seduced also the Belgian artist and amateur of
archaeology Robert Garcet, who in the 70’s announced his discovery of
the underground culture of the Thebah.
Next to the displaced inscriptions, the walls have also been covered with several symbols
dating back to pre-Ice Age. These engravings started to blend in with the existing ones,
creating an amalgamate of signs, creating a universal, intrinsic language, testifying
about what is important for us, becoming our message to future historians.