Babylonokia

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Babylonokia

Babylonokia (also Babylon-Nokia, Alien-Mobile, and Cuneiform Mobile Phone) is a 2012 artwork[1] by Karl Weingärtner in the form of a clay tablet shaped like a mobile phone, its keys and screen showing cuneiform script.

Weingärtner created the work to represent the evolution of information transfer from the ancient world to the present.[2] Fringe scientists and alternative archaeology proponents[3] subsequently misrepresented a photograph of the artwork as showing an 800-year-old archaeological find;[4] that story was popularised in a video on the YouTube channel Paranormal Crucible[5] and led to the object being reported by some press sources as a mystery.[6]

Artwork[edit]

Weingärtner created the phone-styled clay tablet with cuneiform signs as a reaction to an exhibition at the Museum for Communication in Berlin titled From the Cuneiform to the SMS: Communication Once and Today, as well as the negative, global effects of information technology.[2] Cuneiform signals the beginning of written records of information.

The fact that it is a clay copy of what appears to be an Ericsson S868 mobile phone,[7] a model from the 1990s, had no meaning for the artist, who was using it as a metaphor for mobile devices in general.[3]

The work of art is unique and is kept by the artist in a special depot. It is available on request as a loan for museums and exhibitions. It is made from clay, weighs 91 grams, and measures approximately 13.5 by 6.5 by 0.8 centimetres (5.31 by 2.56 by 0.31 in).

Misrepresentation[edit]

Weingärtner posted a photo of the image on Facebook as part of a sale of his work,[5] and a Facebook commenter coined the name "BabyloNokia".[5] Three years later, the image was posted to the Conspiracy Club website with the headline "800-Year-Old Mobile Phone Found In Austria? Check This Out."[5] The editor of UFO Sighting Daily reported that the Babylonokia image was proof that ancient astronauts had visited Earth in the past.[8] The Express, reposted Weingärtner’s photo without attribution and claimed that the artefact had been dated to the 13th century BCE.[5]

Speaking about the image's use by fringe websites and the press, Weingärtner said "The photo was used without my knowledge and without my consent. [...] It’s not what I wanted. I do not believe in UFOs and I do not believe in aliens."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evon, Dan. "FALSE: 800-Year-Old Alien Cellphone Found". snopes. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Angeblich "Alien-Handy" in Österreich entdeckt - news.ORF.at". 31 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Centuries Old Cell-Phone Artifact Presents Modern Day Mystery". 19 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Conspiracy theorists think aliens left this phone behind 800 years ago".
  5. ^ a b c d e f Reporter, David Moye; Post, The Huffington (11 January 2016). "Ancient Babylonian Cellphone Isn't Ancient, Babylonian Or A Phone". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Is this an 800-year-old mobile phone? (Video) - Canada Journal - News of the World".
  7. ^ Martin, Aaron. "Archeologists Discover 800-Year-Old Cell Phone Tablet-Fiction!". www.truthorfiction.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  8. ^ Zolfagharifard, Ellie. "Conspiracy theorists think aliens left this phone behind 800 years ago". Mail Online. Retrieved 3 January 2017.

External links[edit]