Private Collection: Heinz K. Prokisch

In 2016, around 20.000 slides with detailed documentation and 42 travelogues of Heinz K. Prokisch (1940-2005) were donated to the WHAV by Dietmar and Brigitte Rudolf.

Prokisch was an Austrian typesetter, who from 1962 - and from 1967 accompanied by his wife Ursula Renate Prokisch (1945-2016) - until his death satisfied his wanderlust with extensive, several-week-long travels each year. From his more than 40 trips around the world - a large part of which led him to Asia - he not only brought back a considerable number of photographs, but also meticulous accounts on all he and his wife had seen and experienced during these travels. The detailed, handwritten note-books contain Prokisch’s thoughts on people and country paired with exhaustive lists on all expenses, purchases, written picture postcards, illnesses and bruises. In this accuracy, the travel legacy of Heinz Prokisch is a unique contemporary historical document of an Austrian middle class tourist with an extraordinary interest in foreign countries and cultures – albeit an interest often jaundiced by a distinct nationalistic bias. Moreover, it comprises important information on social and economical circumstances and changes in the countries he visited.

The material will be archived little by little on a per-travel-basis. It is planned to form the basis for a case-study of a fully searchable and novel interactive presentation combining well-known flexible filtering search interfaces with presentational components of a “virtual guided tour”. Aleksandra Apic, an MA student at the Department of Art History and intern at CIRDIS has created a first design draft for a possible online presentation in the course of the seminar “Digitale Kunstgeschichte” held by Anna Frasca-Rath in the summer term of 2017.