Written by Alexis Fidetzis

This project is based on the work of fictional character Daniel Hoffman-Morignano, a Swiss anthropologist that fled the Western Front during the Great War and discovered a rather peculiar tribe in Southern Crete.

The tribe that Morignano named the Shield-droppers valued human life so much that it formed a mode of existence where pride was not interlinked with the western understanding of national or military duty.

They acted in a nomadic maner, fleeing a region in the face of danger, often dropping some of their belongings in order to move faster away from their enemies. Hoffman-Morignano was moved by their disregard for material culture as it became a point of counterbalance for the notion of control and dominance that led Europe to the horrors of the Great War. He spent hours documenting and drawing their life and especially specific rituals that seemed to incorporate their whole system of values. Most prominent in the drawings was a type of circular dance during which some tribal leaders were to throw their shields on the floor demonstrating their willingness to flee instead of standing their ground and fighting.

Alongside his notes and drawings, the project presented an ephemeral version of one of the anthropologist’s monumental designs, a Desertion Arch which was supposed to be presented in potential flux, on a boat in Berlin’s river Spree.

Shown in Hosek Contemporary, MS Haeimatland, Berlin

Curated by Petr Hosek


Exercises on shield dropping, Alexis Fidetzis, Courtesy of the artist
Exercises on shield dropping, Alexis Fidetzis, Courtesy of the artist