Monday, June 13, 2011
"The Chauvet Cave: I Am Human. I Am Here."
"I Am Human. I Am Here."
"The Chauvet cave in the south-east of France contains the oldest known cave paintings in the world. The most common themes in cave paintings are large wild animals, such as bison, horses, aurochs, and deer… and tracings of human hands! Interestingly, the Chauvet cave is also known for containing the world’s oldest handprint: see the picture below. Looking at the details: the short pointer finger and the very long ring finger + pinky indicate that like this is the handprint of a male person. The largest collection of cave handprints is found in another French cave: the ‘Gargas cave‘ in the French Pyrenees – which has become know as the ‘cave with the missing fingers’. For, many of the 231 handprints in this cave have one or more missing fingers– likely this was the result of some sort of ‘sign language’ of hand gestures.
The handprint is a cave painting drawn 32,000 years ago and is the oldest portrait of man. On the walls of Chauvet Cave in southern France, the artist used the technology of his day, tinted charcoal dust blown through a straw, to create a simple, yet powerful icon of human-ness. This image captures the essence of human-centered computing. Much like the Paleolithic beings, we still use technology to relate to, understand and depict the world around us, still trying to say “I am human. I am here.”