Installation | projections on opaque oval slices | films, about 3 min/loop, each | since 2005


Segment of the animated fusion

What am I made up of? Where does my appearance come from, my habits, my illnesses and preferences?
We are not independent, unattached individuals in the current of time, but rather every individual is part of an ancestral chain that extends back to the beginning of life. Scientific researchers can identify the traces of our ancestors in our genes and make far-reaching statements about their origins and what they have passed on to us, which of them are still alive in us today.

This video piece connects the final links of the females in the ancestral chains using the remaining photographs of them. In the same way that genes repeatedly merge to form new connections by means of reproduction, the portraits also merge with one another and in their entirety they become a new, independent portrait. From time to time one face gets highlighted and stands out from the merged mass of the animation.
In 1877 natural scientist Francis Galton developed the composite method (a digital version of which was used for this work) while conducting research into racial theory. Galton’s method was based on a concept of physiognomy that argued that conclusions about a person’s character and potential could be made from their appearance.
Ludwig Wittgenstein also used the composite method to examine questions of family likeness. An image showing Wittgenstein and his two sisters as a composite photograph still exists.

The composite images created hitherto in this way in the work “Echo” comprise between 10 and 13 individual photographic portraits from up to six generations – the final visible links in the ancestral chain – an echo of the past.

Further samples of the joins
Further samples of the joins