Ignacio Acosta: Archaeology of Sacrifice

Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen

18.09. – 16.12.2020


Ignacio Acosta is the 39th scholarship holder of the ZF Art Foundation. The end of the presence grant is the exhibition Archaeology of Sacrifice of the ZF Art Foundation in the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen.

Ignacio Acosta is a Chilean-born, London-based artist and researcher working with photography and film in places made vulnerable through the exploitation of ecologies by colonial intervention and intensive capitalisation. His interconnected research projects involve extensive fieldwork investigative analysis visual documentation and critical writing on sites and materials of symbolic significance. Through thorough, investigative and ethical practices, his individual research contributes to vibrant collaborations with artists, historians, political activists and Indigenous Peoples.

The two-channel video installation Archaeology of Sacrifice was created as part of the scholarship of the ZF Kunststiftung and will be shown for the first time in the ZeppLab of the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen from 18 September to 6 December 2020.

Archaeology of Sacrifice

Through the discovery of a Celtic sacrificial site at Mormont Hill – a limestone and marl quarry located in the Swiss canton of Vaud – the two-channel video installation with surround sound design Archaeology of Sacrifice unveils how the notion of sacrifice has transitioned from ancient sacred rituals to its contemporary meaning within extractive capitalism. Evidence suggests the Celts living there during the second century BCE were experiencing a moment of crisis, perhaps linked to Germanic invasion. Thus, they buried offerings in the form of several human and animal bodies, tools and bronze vessels to the Earth in exchange for guidance through the catastrophe.

Today, sacrifice is mediated by market exchange – the well-being of humans, non-humans and the environment has been betrayed in favour of economic growth. Sacrifice zones are proliferating in areas deemed most extractable, most exploitable – usually regions under pressure from neoliberal policies. Here, humanity and nature are believed to be expendable and replaceable.

Mormont Hill’s excavated objects help archaeologists fiction a past, though almost certainly, the Celts did not intend for these remains to be uncovered. In archaeology, formulating past beliefs involves a delicate navigation between fiction and reality in which the lines are always blurred; the reconstruction will always be a representation.

The project builds on this grey area in our own moment of current crisis, pushing for a more earthly understanding of prospective cohabitation whilst offering a reflective space for an unknown future.

In a continuous interplay between fact, fiction and scale, meditative landscapes of typically inaccessible areas are juxtaposed with archival footage, drone views, investigative close-ups and photogrammetry-based 3D modelling. Whilst acknowledging the Anthropocene is built on an erasure of its racial origins, Archaeology of Sacrifice reflects on the precariousness of our planet and its unsolicited submission to humanity.

Archaeology of Sacrifice was created in collaboration with film editor Lara Garcia Reyne, artists Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Pa.LaC.E), writer Carlos Fonseca, sound designer and composer Udit Duseja, and colourist Paul Wills.

Ignacio Acosta is part of Traces of Nitrate ( tracesofnitrate.org ), a research project developed in collaboration with Art and Design Historian Louise Purbrick and photographer Xavier Ribas which has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). In 2017, he received a Research and Development Award and a Project Realisation Award from the Hasselblad Foundation / Valand Academy, Sweden, as part of the Drone Vision project led by Dr. Sarah Tuck.

Recent projects in South America and northern Europe focus on resistance to extractivist industrial impact on valuable natural environments.


Ignacio Acosta. Archaeology of Sacrifice
18.9. – 6.12.2020, ZeppLab,
ZF Art Foundation at Zeppelin Museum FN

September Mon – Sun 10 – 18 h / October Mon – Sun 10 – 18 h
November/December Tue – Sun 10 – 17 h
Seestr. 22 / D-88045 Friedrichshafen /T +49 7541 77 7114

Soft Opening: Thursday, 17.9.2020, 17 – 21 h

The exhibition can be visited free of charge during the entire duration of the exhibition!
The visit of the exhibition is subject to the valid Corona regulations of the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Due to the latest corona regulations, admission to the ZeppLab is limited to 8 persons!
All visitors must wear a mouth-nose protection, provide their contact details upon arrival and maintain the minimum distance of 1.5 m.