Upcycling Prehistory is about testing the saying one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Through experimental art/archaeological practices, this project theorises material values whilst critically examining my own process of re-purposing 133 unprovenanced flint flakes, decommissioned from a culture-historical museum and originally intended to be discarded. The flint was originally part of a private collection, named after its former owner Dürkop, which was then gifted to the museum. The 133 repurposed flint objects are thereby chosen from a larger set of material, with 7 used for Objects #001-#009 and the remaining 126 for URO.
A key objective of archaeological practice is the ability to examine, interpret and mediate objects that have been disconnected from human influence for hundreds or thousands of years. The meaning of things and their interactions with humanity ought to be treated humbly. Manifold interpretations of the same objects can provide more diverse understandings of the past, though they also reflect the role of the fluctuating present in the formation of these understandings.
Reflecting upon these 133 pieces of flint – likely cast aside during the manufacture of flint tools approximately 6000 years ago – they seem unwanted or of no value. This thought invited the examination of what happens when separating the flint from its formerly deemed state of “trash” and moving it towards new possible interpretations. In this instance, a new definition could be phrased as ‘material consisting of flint in various colours.’
This reframing of the flint objects is an undefined space, inviting other people to ponder and discuss the purpose and value of things. I visually orchestrate the power of interpretation and spatial setting. A crucial part of this project is the reflection on how objects are concurrently part of a human (pre)history and of a contemporary comprehension, and in some cases also of the future.