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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oetzi - Face Look and Facebook


If you are involved in Family History research it is always particularly exciting to find photos and paintings related to your ancestors. I have to admit rather sadly that photos of my two maternal line great grandfathers are the oldest in my collection. Doing without an ancestral mansion is no problem but I still miss the stairway portraits.

It is gratifying then that my mitichondrial dna has provided a venerable and well-illustrated distant cousin. Not only does this relationship predate history, the relative himself is becoming more famous by the year. So much so that he has recently had a new life-size statue created in his honour – and a Facebook page has been opened on his behalf.

I’ll let the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology Press Office take over here:

'To mark the 20th anniversary of his discovery, the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bozen is mounting a Special Exhibition to Ötzi, the Iceman, from 1 March 2011 to 15 January 2012. The Museum will also be presenting the new reconstruction of Ötzi at the opening of the exhibition.

On 19 September 2011 the Iceman celebrates 20 years of his second life. People all over the world watched on in amazement two decades ago as the intact body of a man from the Copper Age, along with his clothing and equipment, was recovered from a glacier in the Ötztal Alps where it had been preserved for 5,300 years.

Long after his death, Ötzi, Iceman, now holds humans in his spell with ever more insights into his life and death. Over three million people have so far visited Ötzi in the museum, while numerous scientists have examined him. The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bozen is thus this year dedicating the special exhibition “Ötzi20 - Life. Science. Fiction. Reality” to Ötzi.

The special exhibition occupies 1,200 m², the entire exhibition area of the museum building: four floors, each devoted to one of the topics life, science, fiction and reality, will illuminate the full range of his discovery, the circumstances of his life, the results of the research and the media reality and fictions that have grown up around him. Interactive stations as well as films, interviews and hands-on displays guarantee an educational experience that is both exciting and entertaining.

The exhibition for the first time intends to analyse Ötzi above and beyond this scientific aspect. What image of him has developed? What role do the media play in this? What phenomena have arisen around Ötzi and what unusual results has all this produced? The answers to these questions allow visitors gradually to get closer to him.

New scientific discoveries and discussions will also be contributed to the Ötzi20 exhibition throughout the year. What secrets will the latest research methods reveal? Ötzi20 is not just a retrospective, it is also a snapshot that asks questions about the future.

As a window into our archaeological past and as a social sensation, the Iceman will provide us with food for thought for a long time to come.

One of the most frequently asked questions today remains: what did Ötzi look like? For the opening of the exhibition the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology will be presenting to the public a new reconstruction of Ötzi, based on anatomical 3D images of his skull.

The Museum commissioned the Dutch brothers Adrie and Alfons Kennis to create a new, naturalistic reconstruction based on scientific principles. His watchful gaze today meets visitors to the Museum, shaping our conceptions of the Stone Age inhabitants of the Alpine regions.

Ötzi gives our history a “face” in the truest sense of the word, moving and fascinating people from all over the world (see photo above).

The German photographer Heike Engel (21Lux) documented the work of the Kennis brothers over half a year and recorded the entire reconstruction process for the South Tyrolean Museum of Archaeology. Her close co-operation with the twins, revealed in a series of photos, makes their masterful handiwork seem almost close enough to touch. Her photos give viewers the feeling of actually being present in the artists’ studio.

Since his discovery, numerous artists have addressed the subject of Ötzi in the most different disciplines and techniques. One representative is the British artist, Marilène Oliver, whose installation in the special exhibition plays with the multifaceted nature of the mummy.

In her work “Iceman Frozen, Scanned and Plotted”, Oliver translated a CT scan of the body into plot points, then drilled them layer for layer into acrylic sheets and fused them together into a block.

The South Tyrolean photographic artist Brigitte Niedermair has searched all over Europe for the “Image of Ötzi” that exhibitions have created of him. Her “Tableau Vivant” of large-scale photos records numerous reconstructions of Ötzi in very different contexts and interpretations. There will be an Artist Talk with both artists in the Museion at 7.30 p.m. on 1 March, the first day that the special exhibition is open to visitors.

The Museion, Bozen’s museum for modern and contemporary art, will for the duration of the entire special exhibition be showing the work by Hans Winkler entitled “Ötzis Flucht” (Ötzi’s flight), an archaeological crime thriller featuring Ötzi’s (fictitious) tracks.

The anniversary year will also feature numerous visitor events. Ötzi20 is not simply an exhibition: alongside the “17.31 Blick.Punkte” events with the main players (curators, planners, scientists, technicians) and workshops on various topics, there are also various initiatives aimed at the 60-plus generation.

The Museum will also be offering guided tours for residents who are interested in other languages or have moved to the city from elsewhere, in languages such as Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian, Urdu, Hindi, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish. And on 18 September and into the early morning hours of 19 September – the day that the man from the ice was discovered – there will be a major birthday celebration for Ötzi.

For current information on the events surrounding Ötzi20, the special exhibition at the South Tyrolean Museum of Archaeology, go to http://oetzi20.it.'

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