Benera and Estefan
When Stones Are Talking…, 2023
Public monument, installation (engraved stone)
120 x 140 x 100 cm each

The year 2022 saw the impact of climate extremes in the form of droughts and severe floods across the globe, with Europe experiencing its worst drought in half a millennium. As rivers became unnavigable, ancient hydrological markers known as Hungersteine (Hunger stones) emerged. For centuries, these stones predicted drought, with messages such as “If you see me weep”, or “Life will flourish again once this stone is gone” engraved on their surfaces. Located in riverbeds, Hungersteine appear as a climatic warning and disappear when water levels return to normal. We were inspired by the way such a stone communicates, simply by appearing or disappearing.

Drawing upon the subtle, yet powerful mode of communication embodied by Hungersteine, we engage in a dialogue with stones from a vanished river, inscribing messages that reflect upon the commodification and weaponisation of weather (climate engineering) by the agricultural and military industries.

Amid the ever-changing climate, and nestled within the Bega riverbed, that runs through Timisoara, the work will become a sensor of hydrological shifts while simultaneously serving as an imperceptible public monument, perhaps the most discreet monument in Timisoara.