Mittwoch, 15. Mai 2024, 13:00 - 14:30 iCal

"Collections and Collecting" Lunchtime

Seminar: Katarina Matiasek, "Photographic Encounters in the Emma and Felix von Luschan Collection"

Sitzungszimmer of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology (4th floor)
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien

Diskussion, Round Table

Katarina Matiasek, MFA (Curator, Photoinstitut Bonartes/Wien), Photographic Encounters in the Emma and Felix von Luschan Collection at the University of Vienna


Since the 1980s, photography's role in the production of anthropological knowledge has been scrutinised (Edwards, Morton, 2009), with an emphasis on the medium's colonial instrumentality and destructive effects on its indigenous subjects, as in the haunting image of "the stolen shadow" (Theye, 1989). This stance has increasingly come under challenge, however, as it downplays Indigenous agency in both the photographic and in the colonial encounter in general (Yablon, 2019). This presentation takes a photo-centric approach to the von Luschan Collection under the postcolonial premise of allowing "other ways of seeing" to emerge (Bell, 2006). Identifying the production contexts that once authenticated these photographs as "scientific" allows for a reading beyond or behind the original intentions of the anthropologist (Bank, Vokes, 2010). Reuniting the subjects of formerly anonymous "type" photographs with their names and life histories rehumanises them as historical individuals (Basu, 2021), while the circulation of their portraits back to their communities of origin sets in motion collective processes of "reclaiming the shadow" today (Edwards, 2001).


Katarina Matiasek is curator at the Photoinstitut Bonartes. In her photography and video work, Katarina Matiasek questions the relationship between image and reality, she investigates the structural connections between media and perception-based images and the cognitive operations that lead to the construction of our world.


Die fotografische Sammlung Emma (1864–1941) und Felix von Luschan (1854–1924) liegt am Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie.



Brooke Penaloza-Patzak and Jaanika Vider


Brooke Penaloza-Patzak
Brooke Penaloza-Patzak
Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte