Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Buch der Vögel – the exploration of cabinets of curiosities

Apr 06, 2021 - Oktawian Jurczykowski

Buch der Vögel – The Book of Birds.

This short film is an expression of my recent interest in a cabinets of curiosities (Kunstkammer) as the predecessors of modern museums.
I am interested in the process of collecting and creating a collection of a things considered strange and interesting. I have in mind that the concept of “the strange” has changed a lot over the centuries – inventions, anatomy, exotic animals or even books – all of those thing used to have a different meaning than today. What was strange a few hundred years ago is no longer weird today. Or is it the other way around?

Cabinets of Curiosities also offer a better look at the history of Western societies. Colonialism, patriarchy, white man juxtaposed with people of color – these are very common themes in the collections of cabinets of curiosities. Combined with the fact that the Kunstkammer have evolved over time into museums as we perceive them today, we can have a better look on their role in the problems related to the contemporary Western world.

The title of the film comes from a very common object in many of the cabinets of curiosities – taxidermy birds.

The project is still in development and there will be photography part in it.