Many Venues - Leuven
13 / 02 / 2014 - 23 / 02 / 2014

Artefact is STUK’s (media art center in Leuven, Belgium – annual arts festival, focusing on (visual) culture, current affairs and scientific challenges. The programme consists of an extensive thematical exhibition with international artists, and lectures and performances linked to the central theme – both at STUK and in the centre of Leuven. Next to that, STUK and Het Depot present an ingenious music line-up during a three-day music festival.

The Prehistory of the Image is the exhibition of Artefact festival, that takes the Paleo Camera Obscura Theory (PCOT) by the American artist Matt Gatton as a guide to study the origins of art. Within paleontology, the study of life in past geological records, there are several theories that attempt to explain how ‘early’ art was made.

According to these scientists, cave drawings such as Lascaux in France served as gateways to other worlds, were used as part of rituals or gave narrative clues to people.


However, Matt Gatton claims that Paleolithic man received an example from nature. By narrow notches in the dwellings of those people, a natural camera obscura arose – projections of an outside world on a wall in a dark room. Gatton declares that man was touched by the animated images and subsequently was inspired to copy them. He founded his assumptions on the basis of mathematical models that take into account the number of times that a natural camera obscura can occur within a certain area and period and the chance that it would be seen.

Within the exhibition The Prehistory of the Image we ask the question of how the Paleo Camera Obscura Theory relates to contemporary art. On the basis of works by artists we draw a parallel and propose a paleontological history of the image. Matt Gatton also presents a work in the exhibition. In de Bib Leuven he constructs a paleolithic tent wich illustrates his theory.

Here the link to the exhibition works

With the artists: Aernoudt Jacobs, Anna Barham, Apichatpong Weerasthakul, Ben Rivers, Brassaï, Camille Henrot, Gábor Ösz, Geert Mul, Guy Königstein, Henri Michaux & Eric Duvivier, Ilona Gaynor, Jelle Feringa, Joachim Koester, Kianoosh Motallebi, Leïla Arenou & Naïmé Perrette, Marguerite Humeau, María García-Ibáñez, Marie Kølbæk Iversen, Matt Gatton, Salva Sanchis, Sascha Pohflepp, Chris Woebken & Jana Levin, Yvette Mattern.