Art and Nature

How can we strengthen the link between the history of collecting nature and the history of presenting nature?

In the nineteenth century, when many Berlin museum collections were being set up, the collecting of minerals, plants, and animals often took place in an exploitative colonial context. The image worlds that were simultaneously being created in painting emphasize this claim to power: back then, various museums preserved natural history collections and the image worlds of art history, just as they do today. The associated methods of describing objects and images in catalogues and databases do not generally allow for the aforementioned political and social connections to be documented. This is because the logic of taxonomy dominates in natural history collections in the same way that art history classification dominates in art museums. The Digital Image Worlds subproject is investigating more diverse data models and platforms that are better suited to presenting these historical contexts and attributes great importance to democratic platforms for networked data, above all Wikidata.

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