In 1993 an author buried a golden sculpture— the Chouette d’Or (Golden Owl)—and released a book with eleven allusive clues as to its whereabouts somewhere in France. Nearly 30 years later, many continue to search for the treasure which remains unfound. Over a period of three years, artist Emily Graham, photographed those pursuing the treasure in their potentially futile quest, whilst collecting research and ephemera. The resulting images, combined with documentation on the search—texts, correspondence and maps— form her new book The Blindest Man.
The clues as to the whereabouts of the Chouette d’Or comprise of text and paintings and have lead a large number of searchers across the landscape of France. The game was designed to last two or maybe three years and searching for the treasure became a common pastime in France. The author—who was originally anonymous—is now dead, and only the truly committed continue to search against a tide of rumour, misinformation and re-herrings clouding their investigations. Scientists, doctors, retirees, and artists all continue with 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. Some are inspired to continue for challenge of code breaking, others for philosophical reflection, an adventure or a way of experiencing and seeing, a lens through which to look.
22 x 28 cm