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Stone satellite dish No.1, Cairo

by Vincent Voillat with Kamal Barra, stone cutter

Limestones, satellite Antenna, 2014

Satellite dishes have become a very visible part of the urban landscape, and the patterns of their distribution can also be indicative of the social structuring of urban space. Not surprisingly, they are ubiquitous in Cairo. Like sunflowers grafted on architecture, the dishes all face in the same direction, listening to frequencies from outer space.

 

Voillat, with the help of Kamal Barra and his workers, carved the concave shape directly in a block of locally quarried stone. He used a large piece of white limestone from Tibin in the Tura area, like those used for the casing of the Great Pyramid, and with the same geological properties as the limestone from which many buildings in the city of Paris are built. The actual antenna for receiving signals from telecommunication satellites can be installed on the sculpture to make the stone dish into an actually functioning model able to receive signals from space. The sculpture is a direct reference to the prehistoric monoliths that had a spiritual function in bringing together a community around beliefs, commonly associated with astronomical phenomena, and allowing symbolic synchronization and communication with nature and spirits. This piece of sculpture is like a fake fossil, evoking a prehistoric object that channelled connexions and maintained cohesion within a community. We continue to communicate with the heavens, but in a different way.

 

Klio Krajewska, curator