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Octave Marsal

MA work

The Actual Hanging Garden of Babylon

My Final Project is about myths, legend, the destruction of cultural heritage and the geo-political transfer of power through time and civilization. 

More specifically, the project highlights the destruction of cultural heritage by ISIS since 2014 in Iraq, Lybia and Syria.

It is To illustrate this subject, I chose to question the mystery surrounding the «  Hanging Garden of Babylon ». It is the only Wonder of the 'Seven Wonders of the Ancient World' for which we lack any concrete evidence that it actually existed. For a long time, Ancient texts and experts claimed that the Hanging Gardens were built in the Mesopotamian city of Babylon around 600 BC by the Emperor Nebuchadnezzar for his wife Amytis.

Yet, the Gardens’ descriptions gave rise to the idea of a magnificent feat of engineering that still fascinates people today: a luxurious garden in an arid desert. an early utopia.

Modern archaeologists and historians have scoured the location of the ancient city, but despite extensive excavation, they have been unable to find any physical evidence of the existence of the Gardens.

Water is said to have been transported using a similar principle as Archimedes’ screw – a pump that scoops up water in a spiral tube and carries it to the top. Given their size, historians have estimated that the gardens would have needed 8,200 gallons of water a day to water the plants. The pump is widely believed to have been invented by Archimedes is the 3rd Century BC- yet if a similar system was used in the gardens, it would predate the Greek scientist’s life my almost 350 years.


Part 1 : The Hanging Garden of Nineveh by Sennacherib. King of Assyria. (700B.C) 

THe work was inspired by the 18 years of textual research by Dr. Dalley (Oxford University) which reveals the truth about this astonishing wonder of the ancient world in her book "The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon" (2013). It is a detective story, which reveals this astonishing creation involving sophisticated hydraulics to create a garden so marvelous that it challenged God. Dr. Dalley proves that the Hanging Garden were built at Nineveh not Babylon, by Sennacherib, not Nabuchadnezzar. and like the other six, this Wonder really existed, and can no longer be written off as a figment of the imagination, a legend without historical substance.

Part 2 : "Vision of today's Nineveh Ruins, Destroyed by Daesh in 2016". Mosul, Iraq. 

Part 3 : The Hanging Garden of Babylon by Nabuchadnezzar, King of Babylon ( 600 B.C). Etching on Copper Plate .

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Part 4 ( with Pietro Caracciolo)  : The nightmare of Kata’ib Taswiya ( Special Unit of ISIS) was conceived as reconstruction of the archeological sites and artwork from Palmyra, Nineveh, Hatra and Mosul that ISIS destroy. The idea is to preserve our shared memory of this cultural heritage


  • MA Degree


    School of Communication


    MA Visual Communication, 2017

  • The space and the time are the basis of my work, centered around the concept of utopia. Inspired by the architectural drawings, I create large drawings of imaginary cities. 

    Through a system of cumulative rating of drawings in note books, I use and reinterprets various architectural motifs to give an appearance at a singular and utopian world. 

    Meticulous drawings in large and small scale, black felt pigment on white paper, are views from unlikely places and yet precisely defined, usually without human figures. The frontality of these nested architectures, is not trying to focus the view to a specific location, but aims to question the viewer's body in his perceptive dimension, plunging him into a state of instability, causing it to experience a meditative pathway.

  • Degrees

  • BA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London, 2014.
  • Awards

  • Nova Award 2014 / Finalist (with Théo de Gueltzl); Hermione Hammond Drawing Award 2014 / Special Prize
  • Publications

  • Flaunt Magazine cover : The Girlfriend Issue n°153