Joonas Hyvönen
1990 Helsinki

Makapan Valley @ Exhibition Laboratory Project Room, 22.6. - 10.7.2016
Videos I & II

Makapan Valley is known as a world heritage site, a paleontological location and an important part of the Cradle of Humankind. Its limestone caves are the historical finding places of Australopithecus africanus fossils and one of its most treasured findings –the so-called Makapansgat pebble, a naturally formed stone resembling a human face. It is widely assumed to have been picked up by an Australopithecus and carried along until ending up in the cave amongst the Australopithecus remains, thus making it possibly the first example of representative or symbolic thinking in the human evolutionary line.

Now imagine the South African valley filled instead with clean white high-rises forming a gated community and the former archaeological caves repurposed as datacenters humming away with rows and rows of server racks in them making up the backbone of this community tied together by self-tracking. Putting the Makapansgat pebble to history, this community interacts with the world mostly through differing layers of representation –experiencing their bodies by way of activity trackers and their environment though measuring applications.

Like the Australopithecus once prospered in the Valley’s propitious environment, the self-tracking community now successfully pioneers the technology-based way of living soon to take over the rest of the world as well. And as the Silicon Valley has come to be known as home for high-tech innovation in the past, will Makapan Valley be known in the future as the birth place and leader of a technology and a lifestyle that will take our human abilities to a new level in the 21st century.