Peter Fechter, one of the first victims of the Berlin Wall

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Peter Fechter (14 January 1944 – 17 August 1962) was a German bricklayer from Berlin in what became East Germany in 1945. He was 18 when he became one of the first victims of the Berlin Wall’s border guards while trying to cross over to what was then West Berlin.


Mengele’s Skull: The Advent of a Forensic Aesthetics

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment



In 1985, the body of Josef Mengele, one of the last Nazi war criminals still at large, was unearthed in Brazil. The ensuing process of identifying the bones in question opened up what can now be seen as a third narrative in war crime investigations—not that of the document or the witness but rather the birth of a forensic approach to understanding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In the period coinciding with the discovery of Mengele’s skeleton, scientists began to appear in human rights cases as expert witnesses, called to interpret and speak on behalf of things—often bones and human remains. But the aesthetic, political, and ethical complications that emerge with the introduction of the thing in war crimes trials indicate that this innovation is not simply one in which the solid object provides a stable and fixed alternative to human uncertainties, ambiguities, and anxieties.

The complexities associated with testimony—that of the subject—are echoed in the presentation of the object. Human remains are the kind of things from which the trace of the subject cannot be fully removed. Their appearance and presentation in the courts of law and public opinion has in fact blurred something of the distinction between objects and subjects, evidence and testimony.

Co-published with Portikus, Frankfurt am Main
Design by Zak Group

Taxidermy as Epiphany of Death

October 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

From the Series “Taxidermy as Epiphany of Death”. (c) Connie Mendoza & Nik Pitton

“[..] Taxidermy was about the single story, about nature’s unity, the unblemished type specimen. Taxidermy became the art most suited to the epistemological and aesthetic stance of realism. The power of this stance is in its magical effects:what is so painfully constructed appears effortlessly, spontaneously found, discovered, simply there if one will only look. Realism does not appear to be a point of view, but appears as a “peephole into the jungle” where peace may be witnessed. Epiphany comes as a gift, not as the fruit of merit and toil, soiled by the hand of man. Realistic art at its most deeply magical issues in revelation. This art repays labor with transcendence. Small wonder that artistic realism and biological science were twin brothers in the founding of the civic order of nature at the American Museum of Natural History. It is also natural that taxidermy and biology depend fundamentally upon vision in a hierarchy of the senses; they are tools for the construction, discovery of form.”

Primate Visions, Donna Haraway . pp 38-40

La Rabbia – Pier Paolo Pasolini

September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Human Cruelty

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tordesillas, Spain

Feroes Islands, Denmark

Culiacan, Sinaloa Mexico

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the human cruelty category at The Image and the Death.