Alternative Histories: Traumnovelle on Michael Gold

Traumnovelle, Michael Gold and Justina Karakiewicz’s sketch of Gateway to Mecca, 2018. Concrete, 230 × 230 × 1160 mm.
Michael Gold, perspective, Crossed Swords, Gateway to Mecca, 1979. Pencil, pastel, gouache and crayon on wove paper, 423 × 460 mm. DMC 2929.6.

The Atom People

The sublime despair of not belonging to our own planet’s ecosystems

After the apocalypse, the overheated planet Earth is uninhabitable. Humankind creates a new underground city thanks to a machine producing infinite energy. People of this utopian city vow to learn from the errors of the past and to live in complete balance with nature.

To the scraping of its blades digging into the Earth, generations of humans perfect their machine-city. Social and political structures become simpler. Each human fits in to this complex but optimised, self-sufficient ecosystem. By and by, this civilisation’s ecological progress transforms into a quest for the Garden of Eden in the depths of the terrestrial layers, where they can be freed from the sins of their ancestors.

The city echoes Dante’s nine circles of Inferno, where each sin is punished by its contrary. The machine-city questions the antithetical relationships to nature which stem from the quest for ecology through technology and manifests the sublime despair of not belonging to our own planet’s ecosystems.

– Traumnovelle, 2019