Dispersed and Connected

Artistic Fragments Along the Steppe and Silk Roads

The project collects and explores narrations, images and imaginations, fragments and artistic expressions of Mongolian belonging along old and new steppe and silk routes, which link dispersed and connected biographies, artistic traditions, cultural monuments and memories. These fragments will be joined in an artistic exhibition at the Weltmuseum Wien, a film montage and a concomitant scientific-artistic fieldwork book.

About the Project

Hereby, fast processes of transformation as a result of establishing new roads will be juxtaposed to slow narrations and memories of individuals as well as historic artefacts and fresh artistic works developed within the project. This research therefore opens a unique space to individual and artistic voices in response to current and future determining emerging global-economic large-scale projects and plans. The artists and scientists (social and cultural anthropologists, musicologists and archaeologists) of the core project team, who work in both fields, will document and collect fragments of expressions developed by formulating specific questions on themes such as mobility, nomadism, memory, cultural/knowledge transfers and identity along the roads to create a mosaic or an artistic project cartography for a joint exhibition and publication. The artistic works include photographs, videos, film, language and poems, songs and music, and drawings as different forms of narration lines. Museum artefacts will be links or starting points for these forms of narrations – which show the fragmented and yet interwoven sidelines and branches of existing and emerging roads which transform the landscapes like an expanding uncontrolled nervous system. Artists from the Mongolian Republic and the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China, who are related by their history and spatially linked by those roads and routes, will be invited to create new works, deriving from project-laboratories, which will be integrated into the museum exhibition. A new multi-layered collection, seen – through the eyes of the other – will be added to and enliven the historic ethnographic collections.

Project team:

Tsetentsolmon Baatarnaran (NUM), Johannes Heuer, Erdenebold Lhagvasuren (Mongolian University of Science and Technology), Lucia Mennel, Tatia Skhirtladze (University of Applied Arts Vienna), Christian Sturminger


Weltmuseum Wien, National University of Mongolia (NUM), Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture, Inner Mongolian State University

July 2017 – June 2020

Project head
Dr. Maria-Katharina Lang
Institute for Social Anthropology I Austrian Academy of Sciences
+43 1 525 24 - 5120


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