Associate Members

Anna Szöke

© Tal Adler

CARMAH members’ portraits were captured in March 2017, on the ‘New55 PN’ – a new handmade instant film for large format, 4”x5” cameras. This film was launched through crowdfunding in 2014 as a reinvention of the discontinued, legendary ‘Type 55’ by Polaroid. Since the sixties, Polaroid’s unique ‘Type 55’ starred in many artists’ and professional photographers’ projects. ‘Type 55’ provided both an instant print and a superb negative from which more (and larger) prints could be made. Like so many photographic material in the last 10-15 years, ‘Type 55’ was discontinued in 2009. Tal Adler decided to use the ‘New55 PN’ not only for its beautiful quality but also to reflect, and participate in, the revival of (photographic) heritage.

As CARMAH’s Geschäftsführerin and research manager my role was to assist director Sharon Macdonald in the strategic advancement of the centre and its research projects. I also supported CARMAH’s researchers in national and international research funding applications, with developing scientific events and collaborations, managing public relations, and with organizational tasks related to employment and scientific work.

I was also a member of the TRACES project (Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts: From Intervention to Co-Production). My research focused on three of the Creative Co-Productions (CCPs) — multidisciplinary teams of artists, researchers and places of heritage encounters. I looked at their engagements with collections of difficult heritages, particularly those with the material culture of the human body and death, and their often troubling and violent history. Furthermore, I looked at how the CCPs engaged with the emotional responses these collections usually provoke, the special care they demand, and how they utilize their potential of transmitting difficult heritages within Europe. I analyzed the CCPs as a new concept of mediating contentious collections and assessed them as examples for reflexive heritage and beyond institutional critique.

As a member of the CCP Dead Images, a collaboration between the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of Edinburgh and the Natural History Museums, Vienna, which explored the philosophical, aesthetic, historical and scientific implications of collections of human skulls, my research focused on the Viennese Natural History Museum’s collection and similar collections in Europe. I explored the role of these collections in the development of anthropology and practices of collecting from the 19th century until today. I looked at how exhibition policies in Austria and Germany have developed and are intertwined with provenance research and repatriation claims, and how these influence public discourses.