holey space

The Timna Valley in the Negev Desert of southern Israel is the site of the oldest Chalcolithic mines – humanity’s earliest source of copper, which have been actively mined since the 6th millennium BCE. Into the soft sandstone the miners have followed the veins or seams of malachite, creating a hominid-scale porosity. Between the image from Eisenstein’s Strike and of Sierpinski’s sponge, the Timna mines as a production of a metallurgist population visualize holey space in a way that signifies a remarkable relationship between the Homo sapien population and the Earth.

1. The interaction of the tectonic system and urbanization system (including the origins of settlements, towns, cities).
1a. Many of the earliest cities were built near fault line; half of the 21st century’s megacities are near earthquake zones.
1b. Plate boundaries and fault lines make mineral resources accessible.
2. Metallurgy as a historical event utilizes two of the most characteristic human abilities.
2a. Toolmaking, using, and invention (including weapons).
2b. Language, and transfer or communication of techniques between people(s).
3. The technical phylum, the spatiotemporal distribution of techniques represents the history of the meaning of being (like the Danube River of The Ister) insofar as technical processes and objects determine the temporality of humanity.

The human endoskeleton was one of the many products of that ancient mineralization. Yet that is not the only geological infiltration that the human species has undergone. About eight thousand years ago, human populations began mineralizing again when they developed an urban exoskeleton: bricks of sun-dried clay became the building materials for their homes, which in turn surrounded and were surrounded by stone monuments and defensive walls. This exoskeleton served a purpose similar to its internal counterpart: to control the movement of human flesh in and out of a town’s walls. The urban exoskeleton also regulated the motion of many other things: luxury objects, news, and food, for example. In particular, the weekly markets that have always existed at the heart of most cities and towns constituted veritable motors, periodically concentrating people and goods from near and faraway regions and then setting them into motion again, along a variety of trade circuits. —Delanda. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. p27.

“Behind them they left the emptied rock, its galleries hollowed out in every direction, its sculptured, chiseled walls, its natural or artificial pillars turned into a deep lacework with ten thousand horrible or charming figures.. . . Here man confesses unresistingly his strength and his nothingness. He does not exact the affirmation of a determined ideal from form…. He extracts it rough from formlessness, according to the dictates of the formless. He utilizes the indentations and accidents of the rock.” Metallurgical India. Transpierce the mountains instead of scaling them, excavate the land instead of striating it, bore holes in space instead of keeping it smooth, turn the earth into swiss cheese. An image from the film Strike [by Eisenstein] presents a holey space where a disturbing group of people are rising, each emerging from his or her hole as if from a field mined in all directions. The sign of Cain is the corporeal and affective sign of the subsoil, passing through both the striated land of sedentary space and the nomadic ground {sot) of smooth space without stopping at either one, the vagabond sign of itinerancy, the double theft and double betrayal of the metallurgist, who shuns agriculture at the same time as animal raising. Must we reserve the name Cainite for these metallurgical peoples who haunt the depths of History? —Deleuze & Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. p413.

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