New Media 80.000 BC

Hendrik-Jan Grievink
September 28th 2009

Every medium was new oneday. This point is beautifully illustrated in the movie Quest for fire (La Guerre de feu by Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1981), a must-see for Next Nature explorers.

This fascinating movie is set in paleolithic Europe, 80,000 years ago, its plot surrounding the struggle for control of fire by early humans. Interestingly, the story is situated at the moment in time man was able to control fire, however, he was not able to make it. Fire was more or less ‘born’. How far away this seems from our times when the majority of things we make, are out of control.

On of the most interesting scenes from a next nature perspective is when one of the main characters gets confronted with a more advanced tribe of homo sapiens. He mistakes their straw huts (he has lived in caves his whole life) for some kind of mammoth-like species and trows his spear at them.

From a cinematic point of view this movie is interesting because of the abscence of dialogue in the traditional sense. An invented language spoken by the Neanderthals was created by Anthony Burgess. The gestural and body language was overseen by Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape. Read more about this curious and movie on wikipedia and imdb.

Highly recommended!

Related: Your grand-grand-grand parents new media, Ancient man impacted environment already, Where cavemen live, Shoppingcart Cavemen

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1 comment

Koert van Mensvoort
Posted 30/09/2009 – 17:29

Wonderful find Hendrik-Jan, I saw this movie as a kid... It is fascinating indeed to look at it again from a 'new media' perspective. Amazing how many new media the main character has to get accustomed with.
I guess in the mind of a homo erectus, a straw hut must have been a sort of 'virtual cave'. Perhaps the homo sapiens sapiens, where considered as 'post humans'. I also liked the notion of Paleolithic people carrying around with a 'mobile fire'. Little has changed, so it seems.

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