Dark Diversity


60 𝗑 60 cm, pigment print, document copies



“Dark Diversity” looks at the photographic materials about the Baltic States made by Forschungsstaffel z.b.V. research group between 1943-1944. Forschungstaffel z.b.V research group analysed the geography of the uninhabited terrain and compiled maps in order to provide better access for Wehrmacht's heavy machinery. By compiling a selection of the photos for the exhibition, I am focusing on the photographic gaze and on the motives captured. This gaze could be described as analytic, aesthetic and ideological.


Dark diversity is a term used in the natural sciences to describe a missing plant species in a species pool where it should exist. A species pool is defined as set of all species that are able to inhabit a particular site and that are present in the surrounding region or landscape. Dark diversity comprises species that belong to a particular species pool but that are not currently present at a site. By inserting a dialogue between the dark diversity concept and the photographs, the project aims to emphasize the methodology of the research group whose goal was to harness nature under ‘the darkness’ of the regime.



z.b.V – zur besonderen Verwendung: ”for special duties“, under military command.


Photographers: Heinz Ellenberg, Kert Kragh, Otto Schulz-Kampfhenkel, Richard Hölscher, Gewehr

Albums: EAA.2073.1.324, EAA.2073.1.325

Author of the exhibited photos: Heinz Ellenberg

Reference codes of the exhibited images: EAA.2073.1.324.35.8, EAA.2073.1.324.49.8, EAA.2073.1.325.8.2, EAA.2073.1.325.35.2, EAA.2073.1.324.44.3, EAA.2073.1.325.33.1, EAA.2073.1.325.8.2, EAA.2073.1.325.10.12, EAA.2073.1.324.38.5, EAA.2073.1.325.8.9


The documents are preserved in the National Archives of Estonia.

This project was exhibited in the context of the exhibition "Tierras malas", curated by Annika Toots.




© 2022