The Anthropological department at the Natural History Museum in Vienna stores a collection of approximately 40,000 human skulls behind glass vitrines. Since the founding of the Department in 1876, various specimens were collected to provide research material for the developing field. A current research on the origins and purpose of the skull collection, lead by head of the department, Dr. Maria Teschler-Nicola, is underway.
A part of the collection with around 10,000 of the skulls is stored in a 30 meters long and 4 meters high display, located in a long hall at the anthropological department at the museum. Tal Adler photographed it, traveling parallel to the display, with over a hundred high-resolution captures. The files will be “stitched” together to create a super high-resolution, life size print of the skull display. The hall-size print will be exhibited in representative and national institutions at the various origin countries of the skulls. The exhibitions will offer symbolic restitution. They will offer a platform to continue national and international discussions regarding the fate of artifacts and human remains exhibited and stored in museums and archives. Communities and peoples’ representatives will be asked to participate in events around the exhibition, telling about the displacements of their artifacts, memories, knowledge and cultures.
In collaborations with The Anthropological department at the Natural History Museum in Vienna
The shooting was supported by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Digital Store Vienna