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Opposite Worlds, Parallel Timelines

   by Susan Geckle and Matthew Geckle for Somewhere in Time (2015)

The book was made from polystyrene foam. The portraits of Qin Shi Huang and Archimedes of Syracuse were painted on cardboard and glued to the book. The “terracotta” army was made from the EZ Shape brand modeling clay. Weapons were made using clay, hardwood, and burlap. The Antikythera device was made from a block of wood, wire and polystyrene foam. Cardboard was painted black, and glued to the outside. The canvas panels were painted with acrylic paints.

We came up with the idea of having two separate events that happened at the same time (c. 200 BCE). Both involved hidden treasures that were buried for a long time and unknown to the world. The Antikythera mechanism was found by a group of sponge divers off the Greek island of Antikythera (hence the name). The device, although originally an enigma, was later found to have gears, leading to the hypothesis that it was an early clock. Further investigation, however, revealed that it was actually the world’s first analog computer – a device that historians believed was not invented until over a millennium later. Drawing on mathematics and geometry, the ancient Greeks developed astronomy. The calculated the motions of the sun, moon, planets, and other major objects, as well as future patterns and eclipses. The Antikythera mechanism was very detailed, taking many factors into account that most individuals would not even notice. It is currently believed that the creator of Antikythera was the Greek engineer Archimedes of Syracuse, a legendary Greek mathematician who, among other things, first calculated the area of a circle, devised the block-and-tackle mechanism, and gave the most precise estimate of Pi.

Qin Shi Huang was the first (and only) emperor of Qin China. His dream was to unify the different factions of China under one leader, himself. Due to his extremely strict government system called legalism, he was widely hated by his subjects. Due to this, he was obsessed with the afterlife and his protection in the afterlife. Because it was too impractical to sacrifice many loyal warriors in order to form his army, Qin made roughly 8,000 human-size figures out of terracotta, complete with usable weaponry, in order to serve as an army protecting him from beyond the grave, saving him from the souls of the people he killed in this world and would seek revenge on him after death. Qin was also responsible for starting the Great Wall of China, although it was not completed until nearly two centuries later during the Ming dynasty.

Both of these were treasures created to reflect the universe, as they -Qin China and Ancient Greece - understood it; treasures lost to the world for nearly two millennia. If these artifacts could be lost, imagine what other artifacts exist in the world, waiting to be uncovered, waiting to change history as we know it.

 


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