Sharing Stories

Speaking Objects

25 October 2017 to 31 December 2018
Over the course of more than two years, beginning in 2015, the Weltmuseum Wien has set up ten temporary stations around Vienna and invited the broad public to bring an object meaningful to them and to tell its story.

About the exhibition

About the exhibition

Alongside the entire collection of the 150 object-stories, the exhibition highlights a selection of 20 of them. These objects are portrayed in Tal Adler’s photographic object-portraits in their ‘usual place’ – at home on a shelve, in a box or under the bed, in the pocket, in the hand, or on one’s head – and as video interviews with the owners of these objects and with other people talking about these objects from their own perspective.

A special interview format developed for this project has produced around 150 intimate, rich and captivating stories. From simple, daily objects such as a key or a necklace, to specific or rare objects such as a box of a missing film or a handmade ritual mask, the object owners shared stories of love and friendship, loss and longing, belonging and alienation, faith, passion, travels and adventures, migration, assimilation, terror and hope.

Throughout the duration of the project, photos of the objects and summaries of the stories have been gradually uploaded to the project’s page at the museum’s website, thus forming an open-access archive. Now that the archive is open, the public is once again invited to look at the objects, read the stories, and contribute their own perspectives on these objects. Multiple perspectives on the same object can enhance our understanding of how we relate to our objects and to each other.

Daily except Wednesday
10 am to 6 pm

until 9 pm

Weltmuseum Wien

1010 Vienna, Austria

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Exhibition brochure (pdf, 252 KB)
Ethnographic museums such as the Weltmuseum Wien possess a difficult history of collecting, research and presentation. Many objects found in such museums today were acquired, or looted, in the context of colonialism. The history of racially-motivated research and expropriation, and the problems of interpreting and narrating ‘the other’, are often invisible in the display of these objects. The project Sharing Stories attempted to engage with this history and adopt alternative practices of collecting and narrating. The tools and processes of creating the project are themselves on display at the exhibition, thus providing a critical reflection into the legacy of ethnographic collections.



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Project’s artistic concept: Tal Adler
Exhibition curated and conceptualized by Tal Adler (artist), Elisabeth Bernroitner (Brunnenpassage), Bianca Figl (Weltmuseum Wien) and Karin Schneider (art educator).

Sharing Stories is a project by Weltmuseum Wien in cooperation with Brunnenpassage and various partners: ImPulsTanz, Spacelab, TEDx Vienna, Volkskundemuseum, Caritas House Franz Borgia, and ZOOM Children’s Museum.

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