I've spent the last five days bloodying my hands, gathering various combinations of wood using sharpened stones, carving indentations in stones with other stones, stripping fiber for hours from dead plants by the river and twisting them into filaments for more hours, to do the job of a 50 cent item from any gas station, a lighter. There are plenty of people alive who can do what I am trying to do, start a fire by friction using a bow drill, but they are not here and the internet is not an adequate portal to transfer their skills to me in this amount of time. I am trying to fast forward technological history, leap from the stone age to the information age in a month, but I can feel the inertia of these 10,000 years, as each foot of rope takes an hour and a half to prepare. And in the end, on the cusp of producing an ember, my third rope broke. So I replaced it with a piece of nylon, and succeeded at last in generating this spark, this tiny piece of dust above the temperature that will combine it with oxygen, to generate more heat than I invested in it, and start a chain reaction. To me, this nylon rope feels like failure, it binds me to an industrial legacy that cannot be unraveled, cannot be seen in its entirety. Maybe the answer to my question is no; I cannot completely restart a chain of technology using information alone.

Regardless, I'm moving on with the experiment: I've got a pit for a furnace, a pile of flame-hardy stones and clay mortar, charcoal from forest fires, some animal bones as air tubes- and I'm dying to know if copper lurks inside the pile of ore I've collected. With more time, and maybe just luckier timing, I could fashion better rope, and probably succeed in starting this fire entirely with the available natural materials. Hopefully the experiment remains interesting, and thanks to everyone who has offered their support and advice.

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