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Michael Blum traces the life story of Joseph Otmar Hefter, who, in the late thirties, developed the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Alaska, South America, or Australia. The idea was a complete failure, yet Hefter’s life, as the pre-exhibition research has revealed, were full of turns and of short entries into history. He took part in writing the first book on graphic design published in the US, fought all across Europe during World War I, and in his late years became a historian, and the first expert visual documenter of nineteenth century Mexican army uniforms. Blum follows in Hefter’s footsteps, in an attempt to fill-in the gaps of his winding biography across Europe, New York, and Mexico. Yet the story remains interrupted, lacking a guiding threat that could give meaning to the major upheavals and transformations in Hefter’s story, which in fact amount to a series of different identities during different stages of his lifetime. The clues discovered during the research generate a structure of unforeseen developments, which only deepen the mystery without providing a basis for understanding. The riddle remains open to a future archive that would recover this biography. With respect to the Jewish project, Hefter’s figure surfaces the tension between the glory and failure of political thinkers, through the question of their place in the annals of history. Yet Hefter’s biography is also a personal story of permanent exile and foreignness that cannot be reconciled.

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 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

Faktories und Felder

Michael Blum traces the life story of Joseph Otmar Hefter, who, in the late thirties, developed the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Alaska, South America, or Australia. The idea was a complete failure, yet Hefter’s life, as the pre-exhibition research has revealed, were full of turns and of short entries into history. He took part in writing the first book on graphic design published in the US, fought all across Europe during World War I, and in his late years became a historian, and the first expert visual documenter of nineteenth century Mexican army uniforms. Blum follows in Hefter’s footsteps, in an attempt to fill-in the gaps of his winding biography across Europe, New York, and Mexico. Yet the story remains interrupted, lacking a guiding threat that could give meaning to the major upheavals and transformations in Hefter’s story, which in fact amount to a series of different identities during different stages of his lifetime. The clues discovered during the research generate a structure of unforeseen developments, which only deepen the mystery without providing a basis for understanding. The riddle remains open to a future archive that would recover this biography. With respect to the Jewish project, Hefter’s figure surfaces the tension between the glory and failure of political thinkers, through the question of their place in the annals of history. Yet Hefter’s biography is also a personal story of permanent exile and foreignness that cannot be reconciled.

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

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Michael Blum