Fake for Real: Reflections in the Cave

August 31st 2007

The Lascaux cave conserves some of the first images created by man, dating back to around 15,000 BC. The depiction of large animals on the cave walls is considered as a preparation for the hunt; one of the earliest simulations conducted by man.

Needless to say, the role of simulations in our society only increased ever since. Nowadays we routinely delve into the virtual realities of television, internet, and videogames (depicted right, a screenshot from the videogame Half-Life). Images are an indispensable part of our meaning-making cycle; without images, no reality.

And the Lascaux cave? Soon after its discovery in 1940 it was visited by over 1200 people daily. Once it was found that, due to the CO2 from the tourists' breath, the cave paintings were deteriorating, Lascaux was closed for public in 1963. To allow the visitors to see the cave paintings anyway, an exact copy was built just 200 meter form the original site. Lascaux II opened in 1983 and is still a popular tourist attraction.

From our Fake for Real series.

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