Ice Dart Throw With Handmade Atlatl , 2011 (video still)
Invented before the bow and arrow, the atlatl is a powerful hunting weapon. It uses stored spring energy from the flexing action of the shaft from rear acceleration, imparted by the atlatl thrower. This allows the dart to cover great distance at high speed.
Of particular interest is the current melting of ice patches on the Mackenzie Mountains allowing researchers to discover ancient tools as the disappearing layers of snow reveal them. Obviously, the almost sacred nature of the artifacts, and the fragility of the tools themselves, would make improbable the actual use of the found objects. Nevertheless, would it not be interesting to try one’s hand at it?
In a reversal of events, I made my own atlatl from a branch, cast ice darts, and threw them on the river. This experiment continues an ongoing investigation on the nature of time and temporality through movement in the landscape.