In November 1893, the Biological Museum at Djurgården (Stockholm) was inaugurated. It was the brainchild of the Swedish taxidermist Gustav Kolthoff, who developed the museum together with the well-known natural painter Bruno Liljefors and architect Agi Lindgren. It was one of the first 360-degree panoramas to be constructed in the world where animals were placed in their natural surroundings. At the time, the word ecology did not exist, and the method of showing the animals without any direct notes and explanation met with criticism from colleagues who labeled Kolthoff’s scenes “unscientific”. Yet the museum became one of the most popular attractions of the Stockholm’s International Exhibition in 1897. Today, the building has very few visitors. Its interiors are covered in dust and embedded in a historical haze that, amplified by the dusty air, creates the nauseous feeling of being inside a time machine. In a way, it stands as a mausoleum for museums.
The five spherical photos in the work “Nauseum” are shot from awkward positions in the panoramas that the museum’s visitor cannot occupy. The images become vantage points from which the stuffed animals view their own conserved surroundings. Here one detects the “behind” and “beyond” that were never meant to be seen. As the viewer circles around the photos, the vista continuously changes and the room is experienced from several different points simultaneously.