The search for the Chouette D’Or is the longest running treasure hunt in the world. In 1993 a golden sculpture was buried somewhere in France by an anonymous author. A book was released containing eleven clues (text and paintings), leading searchers across the landscape of France. The game was designed to last 2 to 3 years, and over that period, searching for the treasure became a common pastime in France. But it was never found, and 24 years later, only the truly committed searchers remain.
However, scientists, doctors, retirees, artists, all continue to elaborate calculations and theories as to the location of the cache. Each have their own “zone” in which they scan the landscape, drawing conclusions from snapped branches, the contours of maps, and shadows crossing the land. For some an act of code breaking, others philosophical reflection, still others an adventure, a way of experiencing and seeing, a lens through which to look.
Embracing the ambiguous relationship of fact and fiction in this context, I use the routes of searchers across the country as an arbitrary guide to the landscape, and work with individuals to create a space to reflect upon the constructed world of unanswered questions they have in some respects inhabited for the duration of their search.