The Doppelgänger – Explorations on the Original and the Copy in the Post-Digital Age

What are the opportunities and limitations digital technologies offer in augmenting our experience of objects and spaces for cultural storytelling, exhibitions, archives and heritage?

Developing digitally manipulated and fabricated artefacts by combining documentation with speculation. Funded by: The UniSA, the SIDA Foundation and the David Roche Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship.

The research explores how our sensory and aesthetic experience of archival objects and museum spaces can be augmented using digital technologies in representation and fabrication.

The estate and collection of the David Roche Foundation in Adelaide is the specific site of exploration and speculation. The Doppelgänger project documents and visualises, re-models and fabricates, a series of experimental prototypes derived from archival objects to produce an experience of estrangement – a concept that the doppelgänger is known for.

The research interrogates several conceptual and philosophical questions, such as: What constitutes an original and what is a copy? Where are the limits of digital tools in terms of documentation, visualization, and fabrication? In the context of the David Roche Foundation’s collection this further includes questions about cultural heritage, historical fabrication processes and artisanal craft.

The research expands the notion of the collectable item, by making publicly collectable, in digital form, what is otherwise privately owned. A critique is thereby ventured concerning how we locate value in a collection of artefacts. I also explore how to unravel layers of stories about the histories of the collection, its collector, and the collectable items through digital and physical storytelling. How can a newly produced and curated artefact perform the role of Doppelgänger to an original archival object thereby shedding light on an archival collection?

For the presentation on the ADD+F website I share an excerpt from research that focuses on experiments undertaken on one archival object, The Music Lesson. This is a porcelain figurine produced in c. 1760, which is held in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, in the Metropolitan Museum New York, in the National Gallery Victoria as well as in the collection of the David Roche Foundation.

The research project is ongoing (2020-2022) and funded through The UniSA, the SIDA Foundation and the David Roche Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship.

Project Contact:

Dr Rochus Hinkel (CI), Associate Professor in Architecture and Design
Melissa Iraheta, Research Assistant, MA Arch
Mitchel Ransome, Research Assistant, MA Arch
Edward Yee, Research Assistant, MA Arch
Emilie Evans, Research Assistant, MA Arch


Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow, Curatorial Manager, International Art, QAGOMA Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
Esther Anatolitis, Arts leader and creative industries strategist

Project Partners:

The David Roche Foundation
The University of South Australia and The SIDA Foundation

Elective Affinities_David Roche and his collection
The Doppelgänger_Stool, c.1810