22 Landmarks” is a photo essay that follows the narrative developed in my previous project Philae. The large-scale landscape and horizon alteration caused by the construction of the dam in 1970 forced a rearrangement of the surrounding area. This intervention caused the water level to rise, generating a new topography threatening archaeological complexes with submergence. In response, UNESCO dismantled 22 of these landmarks, either to be relocated to surrounding areas or granted to the foreign countries that helped with the rescue operations.

One of these archeological complexes is Philae, a temple displaced to a nearby island. Philae explored the transcription and structural modification of the temple for touristic purposes. Observing the temple as a simulation of the forever-gone original temple, it established a dialogue on historiographical alterations and the spectacular nature of the temple.

22 Landmarks picks up on this discourse and studies another one of the displaced temples: the Debod temple in Madrid. This temple was donated by the Egyptian state in 1968 as a grateful gesture for the Spanish state’s aid in the rescue operation. The temple is now located in a park in central Madrid. Visitors can access the temple during the day but at night, it’s closed and guarded.

This project takes a methodological approach to the temple’s perimetral area. It doesn’t seek to represent the temple as a simulation, but instead to delve into the simulation’s construction process. It is composed of three stages: observation, transcription and recodification. These stages emulate the process applied by UNESCO in the rescue operation. Firstly, a complete photogrammetry of the temple, followed by its dismantling and its final repositioning.

In 001_OBSERVATION, the temple is mapped by tracking a security guard orbiting the temple. This observation from multiple angles in the distance recalls the look of an external omnipresent observer. This attentive contemplation validates the landmark as a spectacular body.

In 002_TRANSCRIPTION, the observer approaches and maps the surrounding bodies of the temple. Now intervening for the first time through the lighting required for the study. Minimum alteration exists in any transcription process.

In 003_RECODIFICATION, new landmark/effigies emerge from the perimetral natural elements. Codified with the assimilated information in relation to light as a constituent element of the landmark, these new effigies rise in an absolute simulation regime.

Thanks to Pablo Pérez Díaz