Swiss photographer, writer and adventurer Marc Progin is back from the wilderness of Mongolia to present
“The Spatial Odyssey Back in Times”
a land and cosmic journey through the ages of Central Asia history.
This photo exhibition will tell us of an extraordinary expedition which idea, goal and plan were to travel back in times with a camel caravan in search of ancient civilisations, empires and cultures while trying to discover anthropomorphic statues, tumuli, tombs, megaliths, grave steles, deer stones, petroglyphs and other remains dating back millenniums. An adventure on land and an ascent of eras of 20 millennia from the contemporary to the Paleolithic ages.
To travel back in time and to make the plan adapted to prehistoric conditions he lead his caravan of camels, in the dead of winter, to face snow, ice and blizzard representing the late Würm glaciation period dating back 12000 BC.
While the day long camel treks were the time of the site discoveries he journeyed through the ages, at night, at
temperatures dropping as low as 30 to – 50, to take photographs of the stone treasures he had found with the planet
of the cosmos as for background. To survive the quite particular and harsh conditions lasting several months and
spanning 18000 years he travelled with a complete yurt which, with 4 mongol nomads, he had to assemble every night, dismantle in the morning then load onto 4 of the 10 camels. They were Bactrian camels, the only breed who could bear such a journey, carrying 700 kg. of gear, including the yurt, a stove, frozen food, ice packed in bags to make water, firewood, cooking equipment and much else including the elderly foreigner…So no cycling this time. No running either. No gimmicks, nor gadjets such as jeep, a tracked vehicule, no support of any sort, not even a GPS. Only a compass with maps, a thermos and some modern antibiotics just in case. That’s the way true men used to live in with nature and abide by its laws.
The itinerary crossed the deserts, mountains, rivers and lakes of western Mongolia at an altitude between 1800 to 2900 m., then moved on further up on the Altaï plateau to reach, at 3500 m. the late Paleolithic ages where prehistoric men left here and there, over millenia, material representations of other worlds. Stones of strange shapes, carved and chiselled of their rites and cults devoted to nature, animals and spirits as well as thousands of petroglyphs representing the daily life of our ancestors.
All together a wintry and cosmic migration as much on earth as in times past, and a spatial exploration of an open-air museum of human and natural history that nowadays only visit, its climate being so harsh, bad weather, wolves and birds of prey, as well as Mongol clans living there as nomads, migrating freely from the present to the past, slowly drifting with the progress of their caravans.
A HK permanent resident for 40 years, Marc Progin, is a Swiss watchmaker…retired from time, and a specialist of Mongolia.
With “Vastness, Magnificence and Simplicity” in 2006, “Nomads, Caravans and Migrations” in 2013, he introduced with his photos and conferences the natural world of Mongolia to Hong Kong.