“Yes, I am palimpsest too”
3 September 2019

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Stone found in the Belfast hill, Nothern Ireland


As history passes, just like the land with erosion traces, our personal stories are marked.
In her essays, Lauret Savoy combines family history with geologic time: childhood memories of the Grand Canyon, desert and coasts of California; retracing her father’s work while also describing the alluvial plains and glaciation that created the Great Lakes. She explores how the land is marked and the inscribed histories found in individuals. In my project, I create a bridge between geology and genealogy. By using geology as a metaphor for the past of each individual, I investigate the history of our personal lives. How can we be the geologist of our ancestry?
Mountains are formed by accumulations of sediments through time. We, also, have a story before the one we build: what are our roots? What did our ancestors do? How much the past is inscribed in ourselves? What makes our identity? From what do we take our identity?
I assimilate stones as a representation of each personal story and I collect stones from my hikes as you collect family archives and memories. Each stone is from a different part of France, the Netherlands, or Northern Ireland.
Geology gives us the key to read the past of our land and learn from it. What about us: How do find an answer to these silenced memories? How can we re-trace our story when we don’t have our ancestors anymore?

To my ancestors:
As-tu un souvenir que tu souhaiterais ne jamais oublier ?
Comment était mon grand-père ? Es-tu heureuse de ce que tu as crée ? Est-ce que c’était difficile pour toi quand mon grand-père partait à la guerre ? Qu’as-tu appris par ta vie et qu’est-ce que tu me donnerais comme conseil pour la mienne ? Pourquoi avez-vous dû partir d’Italie ? Te souviens-tu de tes frères et sœurs ?