Support Long-term Thinking
Support Long-term Thinking

Stone Age Battery

by Austin Brown on October 21st, 02010

Jamie O’Shea is an artist interested in technology, memory and time. In the video below he demonstrates how to create an electrical battery using only stone-age materials.

As Jamie points out, this isn’t just great material for the Manual for Civilization – it’s also a good way to illustrate that the historically observed progression of technology wasn’t the only way it could have happened.

The project is documented on his website:

Some people have viewed this project through the lens of sustainability. While self-sufficiency and locally sourced material would certainly seem to be sustainable, my methods fail quite spectacularly in environmental analysis. For one, I used an estimated 20 kg of charcoal to produce perhaps 20 g of metal…

My project is about the origin of technologies- the ability for them to emerge out of context- but not their ability to sustain themselves.  A sustainable society is not really the most natural option; humans began as a nomads exhausting the resources of places and then moving on.  Maybe people in the future will look back on us just as we can look back on our predecessors, and see the answer to a lasting society lying on the ground all around us, just waiting to be put together with the right information.

(Thanks, Kurt!)

Clay and Light
Austin Brown