Skulls, Stories


The Awl interviews Jeanne Kelly, “a visual artist with a background in forensic art,” about her Kickstarter proposal that went unfunded. The project was inspired by Victorian human skulls from the Mutter Museum. After selecting eight people (one of whom died of self-inflicted castration), Kelly researched their lives and spun them into possible narratives. Using 3D printing technology, she formed small replicas and arranged them into dioramas detailing their lives and deaths.

“I think the real trigger for me was the tightrope walker and the fact that he died with a broken neck. And instantly when you hear that, you’re like, ‘Oh, of course, he fell.’ He’s a tightrope walker, he died of a broken neck: he fell. Our brains want to fill in the story. And we’ll fill it in with the easiest path; we will complete that line.”

Lisa Dusenbery is the former managing editor of The Rumpus. More from this author →