Learn more about the projects carried out at LBIDH (formerly LBIGG)
Educational film practice in Austria
Project Duration: 01.07.2019–31.03.2023
Conventional concepts and methods of education have been challenged and transformed by the use of film and other moving images. Especially after the end of World War I, films were employed in various pedagogical and didactic contexts. Despite this historical significance, there has been no comprehensive investigation into educational and instructional films in Austria. This project aims to fill this gap by exploring the history of film usage in educational contexts in Austria from 1918 to the late 1960s. The investigation encompasses various contexts, including classroom usage, public education screenings, university instruction, and vocational training.
Visual History of the Holocaust: Rethinking Curation in the Digital Age
Project Duration: 01.01.2019–31.03.2023
VHH is an innovation action that focuses on the digital curation and preservation of film records relating to the discovery of Nazi concentration camps and other atrocity sites. We combine state-of-the-art concepts and practices from information science, museum pedagogy and digital storytelling to design a new approach for the engagement with a significant aspect of European audio-visual heritage. While the majority of these film records are in the public domain as they were produced by Allied military personnel on government order, hardly any of them are available in digital formats fit for the purposes of technology enabled research, analysis, and curatorial re-use.
Building on the advanced digitisation of a relevant selection of these materials VHH will develop new methods in digital curation and apply sophisticated technologies to the analysis and time-based annotation of these historical materials. Filmic records will be dynamically linked with photographs, audio, and texts in order to discover and unlock layers of context and meaning inaccessible through traditional linear narrative modes of dissemination.
Intertextuality in the Legal Papers of Karl Kraus – A Scholarly Digital Edition
Project Duration: 01.09.2018–30.04.2022
The project is dedicated to Karl Kraus (1874-1936), an essential representative of ‘critical modernism’. Although the legal system was of central importance to the writer and publicist, his extensive legal files are virtually unexplored. They originate from the office of his long-time lawyer Dr. Oskar Samek, document over 200 cases from 17 years (1922-1938) and are located in the ‘Karl Kraus Archive’ of the Vienna City Library.
An edition of Kraus’ legal papers published by Hermann Böhm (1995–1997) is already out of print and, moreover, incomplete. The first digital edition of the legal acts, which has been compiled for the first time in this project, closes a research desideratum and opens up new possibilities of knowledge for users from different disciplines.
Red Vienna Sourcebook
Project Duration: 2017–2020
Initially used as a derogatory term by political opponents, “Red Vienna” was later embraced as a self-designation and ultimately achieved a mythic status. It is now seen as an alternative epochal concept that extends beyond the confines of the Social Democratic city administration’s political project. Rather than accepting a linear progression from one war to another, the aim was to view “Red Vienna” as a realm of possibilities. What do the promises of the past reveal about historical potentials, political struggles, continuities and ruptures, as well as (unfulfilled) emancipatory aspirations?
A collaborative effort involving the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History (formerly Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, LBIGG), the Austrian Labor History Society (VGA), and the international research network BTWH (Berkeley-Tübingen-Vienna-Harvard) brought together around 25 international scholars with diverse interdisciplinary backgrounds. They conducted foundational research on 36 topics that represent key aspects of the cultural, political, and social debates of “Red Vienna.”
Detailed indexing of the photo archive of the Free Austrian Youth (FOEJ)
Project Duration: 30.01.2017–15.08.2017
This project, the final project of the “Library and Information Studies” course in 2016/17 at the Austrian National Library, focused on the systematic organization of the Free Austrian Youth (FOEJ) photo archive. The collection comprises a total of 1,244 individual photos spanning from 1945 to approximately 1985. As a result, it reflects not only the activities of the FOEJ during the decades of its association with the KPOE but also, to a lesser extent, its later involvement within the context of the New Left movement.
Doing Amateur Film. Social and Aesthetic Practices in Austrian Amateur Film from the 1920s to the 1980s
Project Duration: 01.10.2016–31.10.2019
In the interdisciplinary Doc-Team project “Doing Amateur Film,” the aesthetic forms and social practices in Austrian amateur film, from its inception in the 1920s to its marginalization by the emerging video format in the 1980s, are examined. Ambitious amateur films from the collection of the Austrian Film Museum and other international archives (such as the Kinothek Asta Nielsen) are particularly focused on to explore the cultural and historical potential of amateur films and generate new perspectives on the phenomenon.
Project Duration: 01.04.2016–31.03.2019
I-Media-Cities is an ambitious initiative involving film archives and research institutions from nine European cities. The project focuses on exploring the representation of cities in Europe through film since the early 20th century. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society and the Austrian Film Museum, with a long history of collaboration in this area (e.g. http://www.stadtfilm-wien.at), contributed to I-Media-Cities by exploring Vienna on film and putting it within a broader European context. Other participating cities in this project include Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and Turin
Project Duration: 2016–2021
After World War II, more than 20,000 officials held leading positions in 52 British colonies and territories. In the 1950s, women and local employees from the colonies also began to occupy these key positions. In the 1960s, these officials were responsible for implementing institutional reforms to prepare the respective colonies for independence. Their role in the decolonization process is at the center of research interest.
The Voices project collects biographical material of these former British colonial officials. The archive includes 108 oral history interviews, several hours of amateur film footage, and other biographical documents (text material, photos). Extensive holdings of the former Overseas Service Pensioners’ Association were transferred to the University Library of Vienna. The collection provides insights into the lives and work of key figures in decolonization, navigating the tensions between their socialization, political developments, and personal future plans.
“Criminals” and “asocial” prisoners in the camp society of Mauthausen Concentration Camp (1938-1945)
Project Duration: 01.11.2015–31.10.2017
The exclusion of minorities and marginalized groups is a well-known and often-researched issue in European societies, which continues to persist. This project examined such mechanisms of stigmatization through the extreme case of inmates in the Mauthausen concentration camp who were categorized as “criminals” or “asocials.” However, the definition of “professional criminals,” “work-shy individuals,” and other “outsiders” dates back well before the Nazi era. Prejudices against these marginalized groups were widespread even among the camp inmates themselves. After liberation, both groups remained stigmatized and were excluded from the memory of the victims of Nazi persecution. The project, for the first time, investigated these two forgotten victim groups in the Mauthausen concentration camp and analyzed their position within the social structures of the camp society.
Who were the illegal Nazis? Collective biographical (prosopographical) and social structural studies on Nazism in Austria 1933-1938
Project Duration: 01.04.2015–31.10.2017
Fascinated by the seemingly unstoppable rise of the Nazi movement in Germany and the influential social promise of a forthcoming “Volksgemeinschaft,” hundreds of thousands of Austrians in the early 1930s became enthralled by Nazi ideology. Particularly in its social appeal, National Socialism surpassed all other political movements. For a time, a movement of considerable social breadth emerged. The desperate efforts of the Austrian “Ständestaat” to develop a countermodel based on Catholic authoritarianism were in vain. Even the Social Democrats, banned since February 1934, could do little to counter the alarming exodus of disappointed followers to the National Socialists.
The aim of the project is to create a social profile of the generations that turned to National Socialism in Austria between 1933 and 1938. While the National Socialist momentum quickly dissipated after the “Anschluss,” in the period before (“Verbotszeit, the “prohibition era”), the entire spectrum of motives and arguments pointing to National Socialism can be interpreted without hindrance. The project seeks to reveal which social and age groups, milieus, and strata, as well as in which regions, National Socialism was particularly attractive and how the National Socialist mass mobilization worked.
Exploring the interwar world: The travelogues of Colin Ross (1885-1945)
Project Duration: 01.03.2015–28.02.2017
The focus of the project is on the travel filmmaker, travel book author, and lecturer Colin Ross (1885–1945) as a phenomenon of popular culture. His extensive work is not only exemplary for certain aspects of Weimar Republic culture but also serves to study the specific trends in geopolitical thinking that underlay the so-called conservative revolution.
Ross successfully utilized the opportunities provided by the culture industry and, in collaboration with renowned publishers (Brockhaus, Ullstein) and film companies (Ufa, Tobis), established his own brand. His success was based, not least, on his unique journalistic and cultural-philosophical thinking, which was situated between nationalist colonial tradition and new global thinking, and could also engage audiences of the German and Austrian Left until 1933.
Securing, Processing, and Indexing the Archive of the Free Austrian Youth (FOEJ) Part 1+2
Project Duration: 01.11.2014–31.10.2015 (Part 1), 01.01.2016–31.12.2016 (Part 2)
The project served to scientifically organise and index the archive of the Free Austrian Youth (FOEJ). Founded in 1945 and structurally influenced by precursor organizations in the anti-Nazi exile, the FOEJ was one of the most important political youth organisations of the Second Republic. As a communist apron organisation, the FOEJ manoeuvred between the democratic traditions of the resistance and the Stalinisation of the communist parties. This culminated in 1968 with the rupture between FOEJ and the Communist Party of Austria (KPOE) during the suppression of the “Prague Spring.” Its largely unwritten history exemplifies the course of post-fascist reorganization in Austria.
Metropolis in Transition. Vienna | Budapest 1916–1921
Project Duration: 01.11.2014–31.10.2016
The project conducted a comparative study of Vienna and Budapest during the transformation period from 1916 to 1921. The focus was on aspects of everyday life, gender, and youth cultural and their respective spaces. Employing the concept of the “spatial turn,” “Metropolis in Transition” examined selected “spatial stories” in both cities. The shift of the period under investigation to the years 1916 to 1921, as opposed to the established periodisation scheme of contemporary history, allowed for the analysis of changing urban functions both during the war and in its immediate aftermath. This included examining the changing techniques of power representation, the repurposing of entertainment venues, the spatial reconfiguration of neighborhoods due to migration movements, and the shift from the center towards the periphery caused by the erosion of the middle class.
The Artist as Urban Planner – A Glance at the Cooperation of Artistic and Urban Practice
Project Duration: October 2012 – September 2015
The integration of art projects into urban planning techniques currently produces an attractive field of research and has caught the interest of various disciplines. The project responds to current developments and the ongoing discourse, analyzing possibilities to integrate art into the planning and creation of public space.
Political Aesthetics of Contemporary European Horror Film
Project Duration: 01.08.2012–30.04.2015
The topic of the project was the political aesthetics of contemporary European horror film. Film theory (influenced by authors such as Siegfried Kracauer, Gilles Deleuze, Heide Schlüpmann, Thomas Elsaesser, all of whom in their own way conceive of cinema as a public form of affective experience in temporalised images) was combined with political theory in a post-fundamentalist and radical democratic orientation (as proposed by Jacques Rancière, especially with perspectives also on aesthetics and on cinema). The central question the project dealt with was: How and to what extent do recent European horror films enable forms of critical perception of power relations and political dynamics in contemporary societies?
Ephemeral Films: National Socialism in Austria
Project Duration: 2011–2013 (Part 1), 2014–2016 (Part 2)
The audiovisual memory of the Nazi era today remains heavily influenced by the official images created by the Nazi propaganda machine. The films analyzed in this project include unofficial, ephemeral images that depict vibrant prewar Jewish life in Austria, the turmoil of the Nazis taking power, and the persecution of Jews after the Anschluss, including films shot by Americans. These films supplement and sometimes contradict the official, Nazi-sponsored version of events and thus serve as an important corrective to the visual record. They also provide an opportunity to reexamine the relationships between film, history, and historiography.
Drawing from the unique collections of Austrian Film Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society (in 2019 transformed into Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History), the project has digitized, annotated, and made accessible 50 ephemeral films related to the history of the Nazi period and the Holocaust in Austria.
Exploration and processing of the media wien film archive holdings
Project Duration: 2011–2017
The tasks of the project were the technical and content-related evaluation of the holdings of the film collection of the City of Vienna as well as the elaboration of preservation and digitisation strategies, the description and contextualisation of the films and their online presentation. The collection, which is now housed in the Municipal and Provincial Archives of Vienna, comprises around 890 film documents from the last hundred years of the history of the City of Vienna. Commissioned films and self-documentations of the city and its municipal departments form the core of the holdings and make up its uniqueness. Compared to other major European cities, the film archive of media wien represents a unique collection for the visual documentation of urban development and city marketing.
Amateur Film Archeology. Excavations in modern visual culture
Project Duration: 01.02.2011–31.01.2013
The project “Amateur Film Archeology. Excavations in modern visual culture” was an exploratory and analytical project that for the first time systematically and historically investigated a field of cinematic forms of expression and practices – the amateur film – that has hardly been considered by international film and cultural studies research.
Like Seen on the Screen. The Media and our Environment
In the project “Like Seen on the Screen”, students from two school classes worked with rare cinematic documents about Vienna. In particular, hardly explored amateur films from the Austrian Film Museum were examined, which provide fascinating insights into the past of the city and its inhabitants. The preoccupation with earlier everyday and living habits, which comes to light in the “moving images” of the film, made it possible to experience the history, present and future of our urban environment. What significance do private testimonies of a cinematic kind have for generating a sense of community? To what extent can the examination of past practices as they appear in a film lead to a future-oriented reflection on the public space of a community?
Sponsored Films and the Culture of Modernization. Intersections between Economy and Aesthetics in Austrian Advertising and Industrial Films
Project Duration: 01.08.2010–31.07.2013
In their transdisciplinary research project, Sema Colpan, Lydia Nsiah and Joachim Schätz studied (primarily) Austrian advertising and industrial films produced between 1920 and 1960. They examined how the interplay of economic modernisation processes and aesthetic techniques gave rise to visual culture.
Film.Stadt.Wien: A Transdisciplinary Exploration of Vienna as a Cinematic City
Project Duration 01.04.2009–30.06.2011
This transdisciplinary project aimed to scientifically explore and document the manifold relationships between the city of Vienna and its rich cinematic representations. An extensive collection of avant-garde films and so-called “orphan films” (documentaries, amateur films, newsreels) with a connection to Vienna from the archive of the Austrian Film Museum (OFM) as well as from international collections such as the Musée Albert Kahn in Paris served as the basis for a structural-analytical investigation and commentary on these films by a team of cultural scientists and artists.