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Online Exhibition

A page from the Online Exhibition: “Banga Mata” /
Mother Bengal
(click image to follow link - password required)

The pilot project entitled “Mothers and Fathers of the Nation” aimed at testing the ground for innovative ways of using an image database for innovative, interdisciplinary research and outside communication and to develop metadata for transcultural usage. In the initial stage of the start-up project, issues of national iconography from twentieth century China, India and Europe were addressed. This particular Online Exhibition was set up to enable us to think about ways of connecting the broader issue of transvisuality and database construction with relation to glocalised concepts of the nation(-state) and her heroic representatives in Europe and Asia as they migrate and transcend borders of time, territory and media technology. Since the visual printed media is so crucial to the constitution of public spheres, the topic became even more challenging.  

The "Fathers and Mothers" of this pilot project which set off at a very early stage of the cluster's initiation, in January 2008, come from a truly diverse and interdisciplinary background and had already accumulated some visual baggage on their respective "global heroes": Barbara Mittler has worked on Mao iconography, Sumathi Ramaswamy researched Mohandas Gandhi, the Map of India, and Mother India, Christiane Brosius has explored the contemporary Hindu nationalist backgrounds of Mother India images and Thomas Maissen is an expert in allegories of the modern state in Europe. They were supported by student researchers Cathrine Bublatzky (India), Sebastian Gehrig (China) and Michael Mohr (Europe) as well as Matthias Arnold and Eric Decker from the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA). During the first phase of the pilot, the project was supported by Maren Härtel who was in charge of the database architecture and our linkage to the visual database HeidICON at University Library.  

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