Primeval Times and Environment. Staging Prehistory in Modern Age

Project: Research

Project participants


The research project examines the media and forms of representations of primeval times by modern paleontology and geology. It is based on the question how the unconceivable temporal abyss that opened up around 1800 by the discovery of deep time was imagined and represented.Talking about time demands the staging of spatial relations. The main thesis of the project is thus that the exploration of primeval times always requires the transfer of time in spatial constellations and therefore the reconstruction of prehistoric environments. It aims thereby (1) at analysing the various scientific and artistic techniques and media that were used to stage, present and represent primeval environments: scientific and popular scientific writings, literary texts, paintings and picture series, as well as dioramas and scenes, which were used in exhibitions and on theater stages allow to investigate both the close cooperations between scientists, artists and engineers and the poetological and epistemological consequences of these collaborations. The project focuses (2) on the formation of ecological and environmental concepts as a result of these interdisciplinary collaborations, since the production of these primeval environments provoked questions about the qualities and limits of environments, milieux and habitats. Geology and paleontology will thus be investigated as important arenas for the formation of modern ecology.