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DAMn° magazine # 24 / LOUIS DE CORDIER

The World’s End

Louis De Cordier’s Ark Movies have been made about it, prophets of doom are gathering a growing audience, 2012 websites are blossoming, some believers are building shelters, others spending all their money because they won’t need it anymore after 2012. What is all this fuss about? And how come between the prophets of doom and believers there’s Louis De Cordier, a young Belgian artist who’s building an Ark high in the Spanish Sierra Nevada to help civilisation survive the 2012 disaster? text VEERLE DEVOS photos & images LOUIS DE CORDIER except where mentioned otherwise

Louis De Cordier Photo: © Siegrid Demyttenaere



DAMn° magazine # 24 / LOUIS DE CORDIER

De Cordier in his atelier, making the SOL 2012 mock up

2012? Disaster? Well, it’s like this: the Mayan calendar ends on the 21st of December 2012, and the ancient Egyptians calculated that the Earth would be in serious trouble because of the sun reversing its magnetic field. This would bring about the reversal of the Earth’s rotation. There are references to this date worldwide in many ancient cultures. ‘And actually,’ says Louis De Cordier, ‘it’s been proved that the entire crust of the Earth can shift in one piece as a result of that. Last time this happened was 12,000 years ago, and we call it the Ice Age, but actually it was the ice caps that were displaced. Thus Mammoths got flash-frozen in a couple of hours. This Pole Shift theory is a hypothesis based on geological evidence that the physical north and south poles have not always been at their present-day locations. Even Einstein believed pole shifts happen.’ And this ‘Crustal Displacement’ will happen again, in December 2012. It will be accompanied by planet-wide

super earthquakes, melting of nuclear reactors, mountains collapsing, tornados and volcanoes and a gigantic tsunami sweeping across the world. Save our civilisation

Louis De Cordier - an inventor, philosopher, artist and dreamer all in one - chuckles a little. ‘One can dismiss all these doom theories but it’s a fact we humans have fucked up our planet, and we can’t undo the mess we’ve made. Never mind what Al Gore and his like tell you: we can’t save our planet anymore. It’s too late really. We should look out for the best way to handle this calamity. For this, a 2012 end of the world prediction comes as a last wake up call.’ So what’s his plan? ‘Well, if you consider that a sun eruption will soon deep-fry our planet, it’s better not to lose time – let’s think of a Plan B to save our civilisation. I want to make sure something of our culture will be handed down. So I collect our canon

in an Ark: a library built at a height of 2000m in the Sierra Nevada in Spain – remote and difficult to reach. This Ark will preserve backups/copies of scientific and cultural achievements important to mankind.’ This is his SOL 2012 project.

The house building technique SOL 2012 will be based on (top, left)

Now De Cordier is calling upon motivated people to become ‘keepers of the archives’ in the Sierra Nevada. ‘We envisage an archivist community of positive and dynamic persons. The aim of our archivist residency programme is the continuation of human culture. The archivist residents will pursue this goal by preserving the SOL library in the transition period leading up to the end of 2012 and beyond. Because the Library isn’t a time capsule that simply gets filled, buried, and found, it will not give our descendants after 3000 AD an image of how life was in 2012 – set in time. No, this is a living cultural Ark that needs to be updated continuously. To classify the collection, I use the system of Paul Otlet, a visionary Belgian who in the early 20th century wanted to collect all knowledge in one index. His Universal Decimal Classification was revolutionary at the time, but too avant-garde to be realised. Otlet invented the Internet before it was possible.’

Location of the L.D.C. SOLStation, Sierra Nevada, Spain (above)

Mock-up of SOL 1012 at De Cordier’s exhibition in SONS, Belgium (above, left)

The SOL house, top view and sketch, Sierra Nevada, Spain (left) SOL, horizontal cross section (bottom, left) SOL, the library (below)

A suffering planet

De Cordier is using the 2012 movement to make this Ark project come true. But he refuses to create fear like the prophets of doom are doing. ‘I believe that by working together we can handle huge future problems. The generation that led the planet into damnation isn’t capable of finding the right solutions - my generation is. We were born into this reality of a suffering planet; we know oil reserves are almost finished and we have to find alternative power sources, etc. We grew up with Internet, this vast source of knowledge, we explore ourselves - thus we can’t be fooled so easily.’



DAMn° magazine # 24 / LOUIS DE CORDIER


For De Cordier, the apocalyptic 2012 thinking doesn’t have to lead to doom-mongering. ‘On the contrary: it’s also an excellent way of shaking us awake! When people have the feeling they’re living in the end times, they start to live differently: more conscious, ready to break the ways of life they are stuck in. Take a look at history: apocalyptic thinking has had positive results. Luther, Newton and many others who, like them, believed the Last Day was near and could actually change the mentality of many people. Thus 2012 could be a starting shot for a very resolute change: a new conscience and a green revolution. I see 2012 in this context, although I wouldn’t be dumbfounded if something really horrible happened.’

Whether all this is to be considered as art? ‘I don’t care what it is. Did Leonardo Da Vinci ever ask himself if his work was suitable? I don’t think so: he just did what he thought should be done and it was great. What an artist is supposed to be, changes through time though. Titian was a diplomat, Rubens managed an art factory, Van Gogh was a talent manqué, Wim Delvoye is a businessman. I don’t mind if what I do is considered to be art, or not. One could just as well think it’s design, since our SOL 2012 furniture will be tailor-made by Ron Arad.’ By the way: some claim there has been a miscalculation so that the Mayan calendar only stops in December 2208 – but let’s keep that under tight wraps.


For De Cordier SOL 2012 was not his first time: in 2008 he set up an archaeological expedition to find the mythical labyrinth near Hawara in Egypt that Herodotus wrote about in the 5th century BC, and that had never been discovered. De Cordier succeeded where many archaeologists had failed. A Belgian-Egyptian team of geophysicists scanned the underground and could prove the existence of the labyrinth scientists believed was after all based on no more than a myth. The next step will be the exploration of the labyrinth and the decoding of the hieroglyphics Herodotus saw and wrote about.


For more information about SOL, High Mountain Library, and the archivist collective in Sierra Nevada Spain, contact the Mataha Foundation or go to


The world's end: Louis De Cordier’s Ark  

Movies have been made about it, prophets of doom are gathering a growing audience, 2012 websites are blossoming, some believers are building...

The world's end: Louis De Cordier’s Ark  

Movies have been made about it, prophets of doom are gathering a growing audience, 2012 websites are blossoming, some believers are building...