The Hyrtl Simulacrum
Transcending Death through Visual Narrative, Metaphysics, and The Forensic Arts
The Hyrtl Simulacrum is a multimedia, interactive augmentation to the museum experience that makes curiosity contagious and infects others with a sense of wonder. It uses museum artifacts as the foundation for creative historical fictions. These fictions are discovered through digital forensic facial reconstructions and analog interaction with story machines.
The stories begin with 8 of the 138 human skulls that combine to make up the Hyrtl collection, found in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Durning the late 1800′s Dr. Joseph Hyrtl wrote what he knew about each person directly onto their skulls. The Hyrtl Simulacrum grew from these short stories written directly on bone. A famous Viennese prostitute, a tight-rope walker who died of a broken neck, a child murderer and a Tai bandit are only a few of the very real people chosen from the collection to become characters in this new narrative.
Combining my love of artistic anatomy, conceptual visual narrative, history, science and good story telling, the project has grown to include high-resolution CT scans of the original skulls, vintage photography, a variety of forensic reconstruction techniques, digital painting and image editing, large wooden interactive curiosity cabinets with miniature handmade dioramas inside and much more.
The Hyrtl Simulacrum enriches the museums collection, enhancing the visitor experience and creates an enlivened conversation about what it means to be human, a crucial part of the mission statement of the Mütter Museum itself.