En búsqueda del Mesón de Fierro

Faivovich & Goldberg

25 May 2011

Video and archive documentation. Variable dimensions

Courtesy: the artists

Meteorites are fragments of asteroids that have broken off, penetrated the earth’s atmosphere, and crashed onto its surface. In the 1950s and 1960s, before man landed on the moon, meteorites were the only physical trace of material originated in the stratosphere, and they were studied closely in relation to the cold war, by countries locked into the space race to be the first to put man in outer space. 4,000 years ago, a shower of meteorites crashed into Campo del Cielo, Argentina, a rare event that turned the area into natural research laboratory. There were so many asteroids, that all the inhabitants had pieces of them at home.

Faivovich and Goldberg (Buenos Aires, 1977 and Paris, 1978) became obsessed with the work on Campo del Cielo, in a process somewhere between the act of exhibiting and scientific practice, between science fiction and the work of Robert Smithson. The artists explored several archives on meteorite research, and this led them to focus their field work on a meteorite called El Taco. The large amount of data studied and compiled allowed the artists to explore issues such as the eternal debate between science and art, the responsibilities of museums and the collections they house, and the connection between research and history, and politics and diplomacy.

Once they had completed the first chapter on the meteorite El Taco in the Guía del Campo de Cielo, which they began compiling in 2006, the artists embarked on research around a second specimen: Mesón de Fierro. In 2009, Faivovich and Goldberg travelled to Campo del Cielo with a teacher they had contacted in Santa Fe, who had been using somewhat heterodox methods to look for this meteorite for over 20 years, in a new (failed) attempt to find it.

“One of the greatest legends of Campo del Cielo revolves around a meteorite known as Mesón de Fierro. This specimen, with an approximate weight of 15 to 20 tonnes, had been venerated by the area’s original inhabitants since it crashed there 4,000 years ago, and its location had already been mentioned by a Spanish conquistador as early as 1576. Its location known, the Fierro was last dated in 1783 by lieutenant commander Miguel Rubín de Celis, who led one of the first scientific expeditions in South America”.