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Habitat dioramas as ecological theatre

  • Karen Wonders

Habitat dioramas are natural history scenarios which typically feature mounted zoological specimens arranged in a foreground that replicates their native surroundings in the wild. Ideally, the three-dimensional foreground merges imperceptibly into a painted background landscape, creating an illusion—if only for a moment—of atmospheric space and distance. More profoundly, some of the major controversies hidden in the diorama concept are: taxonomic versus ecologic understanding; art versus science; popular education versus scientific documentation; culturally biased perception versus ‘objectivity’; and ‘Omni-max’ versus diorama.

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European Review
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