tracing back paradise birds

IZK CABINET was a workshop conducted by Daniela Brasil and developed within the framework
of die Reise der Federn, an artistic project from Gabriele Sturm.

participants: Aljaž Iskra | Cordula Weitgruber | Dora Jerbic | Gerald Grassl | Ines Dobošic | Luka Lipšinic | Luka Murovec | Luís Guimarães | Patricia Wess | Ramona Winkler

download the documentation here!


The Vienna-based artist Gabriele Sturm works with the “transfer process” between different places, cultures and times, specially with the global transportation of goods that since the discovery of the New World has been clearly shaping and affecting our living environments – from the micro politics of our everyday life towards the macro politics of the worldtransnational economies. 


In “Tracing back paradise birds”, Sturm invited the IZK to join her research on the importation/ exportation networks of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Tracing back the history of the European high consumption of Birds of Paradise feathers for women‘s hat in the beginning of last century (up to 80.000 birds were sent per year between 1905 until 1921 when the English Society of Protection of Exotic Birds banned the use of these feathers on women hats), Gabriele Sturm arrives at the current deforestation problem – which is now rapidly exterminating these endemic birds species‘ habitats, as they live in very specific regions and do not migrate.

During the semester we conducted a mix of artistic and scientific field research. While a 5-week journey to PNG, Sturm collected meaningful objects from the island daily-life, as well as sketches, drawings, collages and notes from interviews and conversations. Out of that she sent four packages to Graz, and one of them was opened within this workshop. Its contents were carefully examined and finally assembled and classified in the format of a cabinet of curiosities – displayed in a container at the Lendplatz during the summer 2012.