◯ Machine Chronographique
Year:  2022
Material : Aluminium, mecanisms printed receipts and plexyglass

Done with La cumbre workshop

Show: 4X

The Machine Chronographique draws inspiration from both ancient computers and Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg's Universal Chronography, a chronological timeline displaying 140 years of world history that could be mechanically scrolled and folded for transport.

On the chronographic machine, one can scroll through the 6,220 years of a saved gam from Civilization II, a 1995 4X strategy video game (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) in which players guided the evolution and prosperity of a chosen civilization. The historical data integrated into the chronographic machine was gathered from a backup (retrieved from an online forum) of an anonymous player who had played with the Roman civilization. From this backup, I was able to extract and analyze the 62 centuries of an anachronistic and virtual history of the Roman civilization (for example, the Romans walked on the moon in 1842 and destroyed the Mongol civilization in 1935). I decided to divide this history into six binders printed on  rolls of different-colored receipt paper: created cities, political events, scientific discoveries, conflicts, constructed wonders, and global population. Each roll can be unwound using a belt system to scroll through the time and events of the game.

Civilization II is a turn-based game, and at the beginning of a game, one turn equals 250 years. However, towards the end of the game, one turn represents only one year, indicating a rapid contraction of time throughout the course of the game. Although a 6,000-year game of Civilization II corresponds to 48 hours of real gameplay, this virtual temporal contraction allows us to draw an analogy between our current relationship with time (society of the present) and that of ancient civilizations (societies of the eternal).

While Civilization II was initially marketed as a historical game, it has long sparked debates among historians and researchers. Despite being based on solid historical foundations, the game's colonial and warlike perspective has always been a subject of controversy. Ultimately, the outcomes of the game only led to counterfactual and anachronistic stories. However, when a player publishes their game save on an online forum and describes its chronology, could it not be considered a small story in itself?

Photos: Yohann Gozard