1: inspirations

I'm drawing on lots of stories and histories for this project. Ötzi has a gravitational pull for me - the work feels overdue and the ideas I've been orbiting for a long time.

I've ordered The Man in the Ice on the recommendation of a video on remaking Ötzi's flint knife. It's a good book for getting the specific measurements and technical details of all his gear. This book will be invaluable as I go forward.

Documentaries Iceman Murder Mystery and Ötzi "The Ice Man" set a great foundation for understanding the scientific consensus on Ötzi. I am already noticing how little his craft techniques are mentioned in these sorts of programs, even though they are so rich with prehistoric skill.

When I was a wee grasshopper, my friends and I would ask our parents to get weird old machines from the thrift store or from the abandonment section of the attic, and we would take them apart. I still have some excellent magnets from an external CD drive I took apart when I was maybe eight years old. Even though I didn't understand much of the function of anything I found, it was so fascinating to me that everything could come apart and be used in a different way. It seemed to me that even the smallest pieces of machinery could be, in their own way, raw materials to be used for something else entirely.

This sort of free-scavenging seems common to craftspeople of all ages. I am already immensely grateful to all the YouTube enthusiasts who have published videos on flintknapping, weaving, rope-making, leatherwork, and all the rest for their devotion to sharing their knowledge and passion for the lessons of the past.

I am already thinking that Ötzi was a very different craftsman from the sorts of woodworkers, leatherworkers, and toolmakers we are today. Materials like grass and flint are readily available and quick to work - in just a few minutes a few stalks of grass can become a twined rope, a hunk of flint can become a deadly blade. Being made so quick, these objects are also easy to discard back into the environment from which they came. I think there is a style of craft to be honored here, a style that speaks to Ötzi's complete immersion in his local environment. If we could walk with him, I think he would show us that everything is a material.

<<< back /// next >>>