Colin Ross, Frontispiz seines "Film-Bild-Buchs" "Mit dem Kurbelkasten um die Erde" (1926)

Mapping Colin Ross

"Exploring the Interwar World: The Travelogues of Colin Ross (1885–1945)"

>>> Website Mapping Colin Ross

As a scientific institution the Austrian Film Museum supports and initiates academic and non-academic research projects, which are often linked to the appraisal, analysis and evaluation of our collections.


The project "Exploring the Interwar World: The Travelogues of Colin Ross" aimed at reconstructing the work of Colin Ross (1885-1945), a popular travelogue film maker, travel book author and public lecturer. Ross's immense oeuvre is both paradigmatic for Weimar culture and, at the same time, allows for identifying unique tendencies in geopolitical thought rooted in the "conservative revolution" of modernist Germany. By using a profound self-marketing in producing and promoting his travelogue films, books and lectures, and leaning on the disseminative potentials of major film companies, publishing houses, magazines and associations, Ross strived not only to medially fathom the possibilities of the culture industry but also to elaborate on an own set of ideas that can be described as a transitive ideology between colonial tradition close to Nazi considerations and the global thought. Thus, the main goal of the project was to critically interpret the interrelations between popular culture and the social, cultural and ideological settings as exemplified on the case of Ross's travelogues in the Weimar period.


Based on the available copies and Ross's film estate deposited at the Austrian Film Museum, the project first of all collated a corpus of archival materials to achieve a preferably precise identification of the film stock. Along with these data, his writings (books, articles and reports in illustrated journals, and their translations) and his lectures were recorded with annotations in a database. In the second stage of the project, an historicalcritical analysis of Ross's oeuvre was delivered: thereby, the appraisal not only concentrated on Ross's filmic and textual travelogue production in view of its discursive and tropological design, on the medial hybridization in his works, and on his particular institutional marketing strategies, but also on geopolitical topics by highlighting his arguments in the context of contemporary geopolitical discourses.

In 2017, the results of the project have been made accessible on the website Mapping Colin Ross, where an online exhibition submits them to a double mapping: two journeys are traced on a map while 13 key topics form a mind map connecting these two journeys with the geopolitical discourse and lecturing activities of Colin Ross. The exhibition pieces include film sequences, newspaper articles, book chapters and other documents.

Duration: 01.03.2015 - 28.02.2017
Project Coordinator: Nico de Klerk (LBI)
Cooperation Partners:
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute (LBI) for History and Society
Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies (University of Vienna)

Austrian Film Museum
Funding: The project "Exploring the Interwar World: The Travelogues of Colin Ross (1885–1945)" is funded by FWF, the Austrian Science Fund.

Website Mapping Colin Ross: Concept by Joachim Schätz and Ingo Zechner; Web Design: kraftwerk | Agentur für neue Kommunikation; Texts and Materials: Nico de Klerk, Kristin Kopp, Joachim Schätz, Katalin Teller