An urn containing Nettlau's ashes, the only object in the entire IISG (Internationa Institute of Social History) which really differs from other artifacts, since it carries inside the real person and its closely connected to history of the archive itself. The artifact which should be questioned, after all, it might be misinterpreted and misunderstood. It touches on topics of ethics, morality, honor, history, human being and social patterns.
In general, in the archive, the objects are becoming sacred, we are giving them extra time to live, to be seen, to be remembered. In fact his existence is extended (at this point almost 80 years), to memorialize his character through abstract storytelling. This website is retelling the same story in different ways. The nonlinear narrative of this project makes this project about the reconstruction of something unknown and the intended reduction of the whole. The remains by itself is a very fragile object, same as the knowledge of the past. By retelling at least a part of his story we get further to the core of his current existence which is the main think transcoded here.
Why Nettlau's ashes are in the IISG will stay unknown. First it might be he didn't have any close relatives anymore, so they weren't sure what to do with him and since he was so closely connected to archive, they archived him there together with the rest of his personal archive. But then the research shows that his ashes were deposited at the IISH in the 1970s decades after his death, this might be connected to the politics and the complexity of this specific collection.
In individualist cultures, death symbolises an abrupt disruption – the end of life, whereas according to clinical criteria it signifies the irreversible cessation of all vital functions of an organism, marking the inescapable final stage of individual existence. In many cultures, death is perceived as a transition from one state of being to another, an intermediary stage in the endless process of transformations and alterations.