(Re)Marking Time and Space


a Sound Installation

(Re)Marking Time and Space: Cultural Transmissions through the Virtual Acoustics of Chauvet Cave

Kat Bernhardt

Miriam Kolar

Acoustical Measurements in Salle Brunel. Photo © Équipe Chauvet & Miriam Kolar, 2022

Poetics and archaeology meet via virtual acoustics in this sonic exploration of cultural transmissions around Chauvet Cave. Before its geological closure during the last ice age, this UNESCO World Heritage site in south-central France was a long-term home to cave bears and the site of extraordinary paintings created by humans over several thousands of years, dating to 37,000 years ago. Listeners are invited to hear writer, historian, and world-traveler Kat Bernhardt read her poem about Chauvet Cave inside virtual acoustics reconstructed from impulse response measurements made there by archaeoacoustician Miriam Kolar and team during the first acoustics fieldwork conducted within the multidisciplinary site research project led by archaeologist Carole Fritz in March 2022. Kat and Miriam converse across time and geography, hearing and recording their voices within several acoustically distinct places in Chauvet Cave as it is today, exploring and sharing sensory-spatial possibilities transmitted sonically.

Acoustical Measurements in Galerie du Cactus. Photo © Équipe Chauvet & Miriam Kolar, 2022

La Grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc

by Kat Bernhardt

What light broke
into this susurrous cavern 36,000 years ago?

What words,
what languages
rang in these karstic halls dripping with limestone where they left their mark?

Bone and breath, divine desire,
the tools to create live within us.

et souffrance

We suffer the earth with our breath.

Breath through bone blasting pigment
over Aurignacian hands, the first negatives?

My hand
would fit in there.

Paint on palms
to daub dots
into the red molecules of a bear, the first impressionism?

What did they know about atoms?

Charcoal stumps, black and sharp, burned to etch horses, rhinoceros horns, bison, lions,

penciled motion
at the wave of the torch, the first animation?

I can almost hear
the breath
of those galloping horses.

et souffrance

What is it
that makes us
feel foreign
on this home soil?

What is it
that makes us need to mark it?

What is it
that makes us knead our hands all over this rock to change it,
to fix it,
to scar it?

What is it
that makes us suffer the earth with our
bone and breath? 

Back to top