Early in September citizens of Kelowna spotted what appeared to be a small crashed spacecraft above a popular walkway in the Cultural District. Now it looks like a second piece, or future fossil as they are being called, has been found.
Within an industrial-looking capsule appears to be the fossilized remains of a collection of junk—a wireless phone, a soda can, a light bulb, a paperback book and other bits and pieces. How is it even possible for these household objects to have become fossilized—they look like what you might uncover in an archaeological dig.
Is this someone’s idea of a prank? No, the capsule is the second of eight pieces that comprise a public art project entitled Fossils from the Future. It is being produced by Okanagan-based artist Johann Wessels and is presented by the Kelowna Art Gallery.
The underlying idea of this project is for pedestrians to come across strange-looking, intriguing and mysterious objects that have attached themselves to light standards or other structures.
Observers will find a metal label located nearby that offers information specific to that piece and also a question or suggestion for how they might engage further. People are encouraged to use the hashtag #futurefossils and to join the conversation—snap a photo, Tweet about it, post on Facebook, or even film their own video. The hope is that a lively discussion will ensue.
Have these objects really been sent to our present time from the future? Are our future selves trying to warn us and encourage us to alter the course of history? When people start thinking about this, perhaps their usual sense of ‘reality’ will be slightly altered.
Johann Wessels’ work has been exhibited widely in South Africa, in the UK and throughout the Okanagan. Wessels is also the artist who created Side Show, an installation at the Kelowna International Airport that ran from November 2014 to May 2015. He is a mature artist with decades of experience, who is also highly creative, skilled and talented.
As people out and about discover these items, they may begin to construct meaning from them and might look for more of them and for information about them. To help with this, a website has been constructed at kelownaartgallery.com/futurefossils, which will feature video clips, clues and a dedicated page populated with #futurefossils conversation feeds from social media sites.