Fictive ethnic portraits
This project started with the documentation of ten fictive architectural forms, however, inspired by those of ancient populations. These forms were first photographed and carefully classified in a manual of ethnic archeology. Twenty-eight survey participants were then asked to imagine what populations had lived there. They were guided through on a grid of objective questions such as the type of governance, level of economic development, attitude towards progress, level of education, most of them borrowed from 18th-19th-century European anthropological classification.
The scientific contributions, thus collected were then synthesized in the form of ”scientific” notes, yet perfectly fictive. Recalling the formalistic ambition of ethnological manuals during the early phase of colonialism, these notes aimed to grasp these ethnic groups’ most distinctive identity features. Just as maps are simplified representations of complex territories, ethnological depictions are caricatural portraits of multifaceted social groups. The constructions were then displayed in the form of small-scale, girdled ”pavilions”, around which the visitor was invited to wander.