Dead Images is an artistic exploration of the complex and contentious legacy of two collections held at the anthropology department of the Natural History Museum in Vienna: a collection of over 40,000 human skulls and, within this collection, an even larger collection of photography.
The central piece in the exhibition is a 30×3 meter life-sized panorama of a section of the skull collection with roughly 8,000 skulls. It can only be seen at the exhibition by entering a restricted and clearly marked space. Five films (total of 110 minutes) and an extensive research and workshop space contextualize the big photograph, question, commend or contest it, and encourage the visitors to participate in the discussion.
In creating an exhibition about exhibiting, a photographic installation about photography, we investigate our ambivalent curiosity and our own desire to see that which is withheld. Who are we to show the photograph and to invite the public to gaze upon the bones of others as an artistic or scientific spectacle?
Leveled Landscapes is part of a project trilogy about the politics of memory in Austria, produced in collaboration with Karin Schneider as part of the research projects MemScreen (2011-2013) and Conserved Memories (2013-2016) based at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. These projects were funded by the Austrian Science Fund under their Programme for Arts-based Research (PEEK: AR 96, AR 212-G21).