CIvilization of Llhuros

Fictional Civilization Leaves Behind Lasting Legacy

Logo for the Cornell Chronicle
Graphic from video banner in original news story showing Norman Daly and Llhuroscian imagery.

By David Nutt
December 7, 2022

This fall, Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections acquired a trove of archival materials documenting the creation of this fictional society, giving researchers and historians a detailed view into a unique project that is both an absurdist critique of academic anthropology and an attempt to draw crucial connections between the past and the present, highlighting the challenges – spiritual, political and environmental – that all societies struggle to address.

“As an archivist, and someone who’s in charge of preserving the legacy of Cornell faculty, I saw right away that this was a collection that would be wonderful to have,” said Evan Earle ’02, M.S. ’14, the Dr. Peter J. Thaler ‘56 University Archivist. “It documents just one tiny little sliver of Cornell’s history. But it’s a fascinating one.”

Illustration of Llhuroscian landscape

The Llhuros Symposium Gets Real

Beauvais Lyons
Beauvais Lyons

On September 28, 2022, University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Professor Beauvais Lyons, coordinator of the upcoming Llhuros Symposium (October 8th) spoke to Todd Steed of station WUOT (University of Tennessee Public Radio) to discuss Norman Daly’s “Civilization of Llhuros”, as well as his own work. The interview lasts about 23 minutes and is well worth listening to.

The University of Tennessee School of Art hosted the very successful all-day virtual Llhuros Symposium on Saturday, October 8th to mark the the 50th anniversary of Norman Daly’s “Civilization of Llhuros.” Fifteen artists and scholars discussed this pioneering multimedia work of archaeological fiction.

L I S T E N  (23:00)

Note: The virtual symposium was recorded and will soon be available at the University of Tennessee School of Art Vimeo Site very soon. We’ll announce the availability.

UTK Prof. Beauvais Lyons

Art, Hoax, and Provocation

We’re delighted to report that Norman Daly’s renowned Civilization of Llhuros has been included in a new publication written and researched by Antoinette LaFarge, herself a “fictive-art” practitioner. The book presents a heavily illustrated survey of artist hoaxes, including impersonations, fabula, cryptoscience, and forgeries.

Stealthily occupying the remote corners of history, literature, and art are curious fabrications that straddle the lines between fact, fiction, and wild imagination — non-existent people and poets, Edgar Allan Poe’s hot-air-balloon to the Moon hoax, crypto-scientific objects like fake skeletons, psycho-geography, faked inventions, and staged anthropological evidence. From the intriguing Cottingley fairy photographs, “captured” in 1917 by teenage sisters, to the Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Codex Seraphinianus, an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, “fictive art” (the author’s term) continues to reframe assumptions made by its contemporaneous culture.

The shift from the early information age to our “infocalypse” era of rampant misinformation has made this genre of art with a sting in its tale an especially radical form. Cataloging historical projects and those from the late 20th and early 21st century that probe this confusion, LaFarge foregrounds the medium’s potential for run-away creativity. At its center, fictive art is secured as fact by creating series of evidentiary objects and by employing the language and display methods of history and science. Using documentary photographs and videos, created historical artifacts and relics, explanatory texts and didactics, lectures, events, and expert opinions in technical language, artists have created constellations of manufactured evidence attesting to their artwork’s central narrative. This dissimulation is temporary in most cases, often surprisingly revealed in a self-outing moment; other times, it is found out. With all the attendant consequences of mistrust, outrage, and rejection, what we can learn from fictive art practitioners both past and present bears on the fragile trust that builds societies, and that when broken, brings them to the brink of chaos.

Readers of A Sting in the Tale will be amused, delighted, and soberly engaged in thinking about what the role of art could be in shaping discord or discourse.

–Foreword by G. D. Cohen, artist, curator, and scholar of visual culture.

Antoinette LaFarge
Antoinette LaFarge

Antoinette LaFarge is an internationally recognized new media artist and founder of the pioneering Internet performance troupe the Plaintext Players who holds a special interest in speculative fiction, feminist techne, and alternative histories. Her artwork has taken form as new media performance, computer-programmed installations, public exhibitions and interventions, digital prints, and artist’s books. Recent publications include Louise Brigham and the Early History of Sustainable Furniture Design (Palgrave Macmillan 2019) and Monkey Encyclopedia W (ICI Press 2018). She is a longtime contributor to Wikipedia and is currently Professor of Digital Media in the Art Department at University of California, Irvine.

This title was released on August 24 and is now available for purchase.

Doppel House Press
Google Books
Barnes & Noble (free-shipping)


Civilization of Llhuros to be exhibited in Istanbul

The Pera Museum in Istanbul
The Pera Museum in Istanbul
We are delighted to announce that The Civilization of Llhuros has been selected for exhibit at the 2019 Istanbul Biennial 2019 which runs from September 14 − November 10, 2019.

Titled “The Seventh Continent” by curator Nicholas Bourriaud, the biennial will feature 57 participating artists from 26 countries on view across three locations in the city: the Istanbul Shipyards, the Pera Museum, and Büyükada Island.

The Civilization of Llhuros will be installed in the Pera Museum, one the three biennial locations. The Pera Museum is one of the world’s most distinguished cultural centers in one of the liveliest quarters of the city.

Created by Norman Daly (1912-2008) in the early 1970’s, and considered to be the first multimedia exhibition in the genre of archaeological fiction, this marks the first exhibit of this scale since 1974 when the full installation was exhibited in Cologne. In 2017, a selection of objects were shown part of the Plurivers show at La Panacée – Le Centre d’art contemporain in Montpellier, France.

The Pera Museum in Istanbul