Exhibition "Von Atlantis bis heute - Mensch. Natur. Katastrophe"
September 7, 2014 – March 1, 2015
The exhibition “Von Atlantis bis heute – Mensch. Natur. Katastrophe” displays the findings of the research project “Images of Disasters”. The show illustrates how human beings respond to the violence unleashed by extreme natural events. It investigates culturally formed patterns of action and collective strategies of coping, as individuals, societies and world-views are exposed to the most elemental of borderline situations.
The exhibition features some 20 catastrophic events whose thematic range extends from the ancient myth of the lost city of Atlantis to present day climate change. About 200 objects, many of which have never been shown before, and simulations are displayed over an exhibition space of 1,000 square metres. The transcultural focus of the exhibition brings to light a repertoire of images and representations of disasters in world history, both famous and less-known, which seek to domesticate calamities and contain them as icon. The multimedia and interactive dimensions of the exhibition are part of this process of domestication.
The exhibition is a cooperation of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums Mannheim with the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" at Heidelberg University and the TU Darmstadt. It is organised by global art historian Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja (Heidelberg), the historian of disaster Prof. Dr. Gerrit J. Schenk (TU Darmstadt) and Jacob Birken and Noura Dirani of research project D17 "Images of Disasters", together with Dr. Christoph Lind of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums of Mannheim.
Picture on top: Reisende beobachten den Ausbruch des Vesuvs (detail), Gemälde von Pierre-Jaques Volaire, 1771 © Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe