e.g. – Folk Life Museum

Simon Starling & Superflex

e.g. 4.5 Million Objects plus 1 Egg in the Making, 2011


While the Super Egg’s appearance elsewhere among the 4.5 million objects of the Universalmuseum Joanneum leads to questions regarding the nature of its material existence, its almost impossibly perfect mirror finish creating the sense of a rather dematerialized, virtual or phantom presence, here in the Volkskunde the immateriality of the egg is directly challenged as the existence of the object is firmly grounded in its short but very real history within the precision engineering culture of Styria. Using all the trappings of a conventional anthropological display and echoing many of the rituals evoked elsewhere in the Volkskunde, the Super Egg is presented ‘in the making’, as a worker is caught in the laborious and apparently unrelenting act of polishing the egg to a magically immaterial perfection. The harder he works and the closer he comes to completing his task, the less his work remains visible. The clearer his reflection becomes in the egg’s distorting mirrored surface, the further he slips from the ‘virtual reality’ of the finished object – the more he is alienated from his work and this almost extraterrestrial object.


While this demystification of the Super Egg, the restaging of its out-sourced production, could be understood as a self-reflexive, critical gesture in relation to the project as a whole, it might also be interpreted more generally as a response to the fundamental nature of the 4.5 million-strong-collection of objects that constitutes the Universalmuseum. And indeed to the very logic of any such collection, based as they are on an ability to take objects from the maelstrom of the world and place them together in such a manner that they represent a higher logic. What happens if the museum opens its doors to unfinished objects, to eggs in the making? What if the maelstrom of the world sweeps across the threshold and into the museum? What complex, labyrinthine structure would the museum become if manufacture and making were invited in to challenge the sanctity of the 4.5 million finished objects?


Design by PIET HEIN © Piet Hein A/S Denmark 
SUPERELLIPSE® Piet Hein A/S Denmark


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24th/25th December 2023