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Art Installation at the Jeronimos Monastery
National Museum of Archeology 

exhibiting from 30th May to 27th September 2015


The National Museum of Archaeology commissioned an art installation to re-interpret the theme of an outdoor exhibition on the southwest script so as to complement it with contemporary art work on a public space setting. 

This touring exhibition “Quem nos escreve desde a Serra” tells us about The Southwest Script, a long lost language whose writing still endures, engraved on flat stones (Stelae) by an Iberian Iron Age culture - the Tartesians, These Stelae are found in several locations on the Southwest of the Iberian Peninsula and the script is considered the third oldest writing in Europe, from around 2500 years ago. 


This exhibition was set up by an archaeology research project - Projecto Estela, who gave invaluable  support to our research and the development and production of this project. The installation was mainly assembled on location, at the Jerónimos Monastery cloisters, with the help and support from the museum staff and 2MW collaborators.



The Southwest Vowels


Construction steel bars structures; reused natural cotton and plastic fishnets; cotton thread

structures dim. 3 x 2.5 X 1 meters 



Southwest Scrabble and the Sappho Stella

Double sided panel  integrating the Southwest Script exhibition "Quem nos escreve desde a serra" at the entrance of the National Archaeology Museum


The Scrabble



The Southwest script is yet to be deciphered, the language itself is long forgotten, and the writing, although familiar with the Phoenician, has been rearranged to convey a different language.

Linguistics have been faced with problems that arise from gaps in historical record sources and limited physical archaeological evidences from this culture of the Iron Age and specially, the insufficient data that can be extracted from the stelae so far collected.

The Scrabble talks about the sense of mystery when facing an undecifered coded message. The curious mind is enticed by puzzles and riddles and when admiring these stelae it drives the urge to construct mind games for word compositions. So we built a scrabble of Southwest script letters - a combination of contemporary Portuguese words, related to the Iron Age, phonetically spelled in Southwest script. 


The Sappho Stela


We can make some phonetic associations with the Phoenician and ancient Greek symbols, but semiotics is lost - Semantics and syntactic are still submerged in darkness.

A solution for this problem would be to find an adequate Rosetta stone for the Southwest Script. So while the archaeologists are persistently searching for that special key, we decided to imagine our own. It took the form of a old black monolith, with two engraved writings:

An ancient Greek poem by the poet Sappho who was contemporary of the Tartesians, and its imaginary translation into Southwest Script. At the bottom, we can read in Portuguese:



  "The one who is beautiful, is beautiful to the eyes and that is enough - but the one who is good, is suddenly beautiful"


2MW collective collaborators and friends came together to help in the construction of this installation.


The metal structures were masterfully crafted by Miguel Saudades in his workshop and assembled at the Monastery. Several helping friends and Museum staff came to the Monastery's courtyard for many hours of skilful fishnet sewing.

The several layers of reused fishnets were kindly donated by fishermen frinds from the Port of Sesimbra, a very old traditional fishing village near Lisbon.

The Harboursmaster's office of Setubal also supplied us with  confiscated net from illegal fishery.

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