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artist in progress                                        on documentation, 2015

In the Victorian era people were very busy preserving. After Daguerre’s announcement of his photographic process in 1839 it became common to document the deceased on photographs. The first known postmortem photographs to be taken were daguerreotypes. The photograph, seen as a tool steeped in the highest of technological advances, had a certain truth to it because it was an actual documentation of existence rather than an interpretation of it. At the apex of the Victorian obsession with death, postmortem photographs became a popular medium for the rituals of death, mourning and preserving. Were they trying to escape from death? As if they kept the deceased alive?

The same mentality was used to the equally morbid leisure activities of collecting insects. Huge collections of exotic and domestic butterflies were preserved in characteristic Victorian cabinets. In my search for the possibilities to preserve the unstable, I made model 1.4 called "preserved?’ It is written with a question mark because it is highly questionable whether one can preserve such unstable documents. Referring to the Victorian era where it seems to be as if death was escapable.

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