A Comprehensive Atlas of Gold Fictions by Aram Mooradian. Unknown Fields Future Archaeologies Department_Winter 2010_Outback Australia 30°46'25.6"S 121°29'59.5"E


Aboriginal dreamtime narratives speak of a time when the ground was soft and creation beings shaped mountains and rivers. Now the financial narratives of gold prices reshape the earth through massive excavations and technological incisions. The Atlas of Gold Fictions catalogues the strange infrastructures of the gold economy, from its source in the mines of Australia to the web of precious artefacts scattered across the globe. Aram, of our Future Archaeologies Department, has reimagined the infrastructure of gold’s solely virtual value through the speculative artefacts of a new network of gold objects inscribed with the oral histories of the land from which it came. A suicide note is inscribed on a single gold bullet, the sound of a grandmother’s laughter is encoded into an heirloom necklace and the dying languages of Australia’s indigenous culture are recorded onto the gold bars dug out of the very ground of their homeland. Our relationship to our finite resources is re-examined with this new dispersed geology of artefacts encoded with the cultural rather than economic values of the contemporary world.


GOLD BAR- Like the voyager gold record, the gold bar is redesigned as spools of lost and endangered languages from the indigenous sites where the resource is extracted.


GOLD VAULT- The gold vault becomes a new archive of cultural information and lost languages.


HEADPHONE JACK- This gold plated headphone jack has embedded within it an aboriginal songline from the place its gold was abstracted. Once the landscape is disturbed by mining machines, its songlines become dislocated from their lad, encoded into and spread by the gold. The aboriginal stories and song survive in the ore extracted. Just like the secret tracks of a beatle record, Hidden within the tunes of the latest pop song are the Endangered oral histories from the mine site.


EYELID IMPLANT- Mary Andreson works at a diner in Rhode Island. She likes to read ‘Hello’ and ‘Vogue’ as she dreams of having a better life. “If I am Beautiful” she thinks to herself, “I can get out of here”. So night by night she sweeps the floors and cleans the grime from the ovens, collecting the pennies that she is saving to make herself beautiful. As her hands become rough, she works towards implants that will remove the tired lines from her eyes; on which her ideal DNA is recorded, “When I am gone” she thinks, “they’ll read who I really am inside”.


HEIRLOOM PENDANT- Natapa lives in Bangkok with her mother. She is sixteen now and she wants to leave home but she is trapped. For months she has been seeing a boy, but she wouldn’t dare tell. Leaving is the only way to see him. Enduring their love in respective isolation, the young couple exchange pendants onto which their voices are inscribed reminded each other that it’s only a matter of time before they can be together. The sounds of their laughter and little sayings caress the grooves of the pendant.


LUMBAR IMPLANT- Tyler Mason, 24 from Ohio, came back from his first tour of duty in Iraq with shrapnel in his sides and a broken spine. The whole time I was out there he thought of Jane, whom he had left behind. He would sing the tune they first kissed to in his head as he was dragged to safety by a medic, wondering if he would ever see her again. When they fixed his back, inscribed in the contours of his implant he engraved that first song- “You and Me”. They patched him up, he kissed Jane and went on his way to Afghanistan.


GOLD BULLET- This was the suicide bullet used by Hunter S Thompson in 2005. Inscribed along its contours is a note to his wife Anita titled, ‘Football season is over’.


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