In one of his texts Christian Bachhiesl, the curator of Hans Gross Criminal Museum, warns against the use of naive analogies. The historians used to compare their work with the criminalists’ practice and the other way around: The criminalists would claim that they, just like historians, “establish an ordered causal relation between people and the events.”
It may be that the materialist, positivist notions of these two scientific fields have been surpassed and that the methodical doubt keeps us at bay, but I somehow cannot reduce the title of our project to irony.
A ‘hard fact’* does imply the undisputed, empirical, factual, material… truth. It can be, of course, analysed, interpreted, ‘put in order’ but its mere presence remains authoritative.
We are embarking on an odd exploration of the relation between the objects and their labels and the effect that these exposed objects can have on us. In theory, this phenomenon has been tackled from different angles and has been named ‘aura’ or ‘mana’. It seems as if the current prevailing processes to achieve this are – juridicalisation, commodification, and musealisation.
* The title in Slovenian sounds even more explicit: we use the adjective ‘trda’ (hard, solid) and not ‘trdna’ (firm, trustworthy).
Cf. Christian Bachhiesl: Warheit(en) in der Kriminalwissenschaft. Uberlegungen zum epistemischen Status kriminalwissenschaftlicher Forschung; in Kriminologische Theorie & Praxis, LIT Verlag 2011