Category History

Mayan Dwarf Liminality

Short-statured people, dwarfs and people with achondroplasia play a significant role in Maya mythology because it is believed that dwarfs lived together with the gods before humans even existed. This presumed divine proximity and intimacy with the unknown gave small-statured status. They knew something the rest of us didn’t. Knowledge, wisdom, things we wanted to […]

The Devil’s Dwarfs

During WWI the British Army made it perfectly clear that no man under the height of 160cm (5 ft 3 inches) was deemed strong enough to fight and serve their country. But as the war dragged into the second year, with the enormous losses in men’s lives and a growing understanding that this would not be […]

Tall Tales: The Well-Heeled Wobble

Tall Tales investigate signs, stories and tropes on how our obsession with tallness became so culturally embedded that we experience it as natural, normal and inevitable. One of the most accepted and visible products of our desire to be taller are high heels. Throughout history men, and women especially, have embraced the high heel as a […]

Tall Tales: Langen Kerls

Tall Tales is a new series of stories that investigate our obsession with height. Throughout history there have been iconic moments, stories and situations that shaped the fundamental yet unfounded belief that taller is better. First up; the Potsdam Giants. The Potsdam Giants was a Prussian infantry regiment composed of very tall soldiers. Throughout the reign of the Prussian king Friedrich […]

Abundance Fantasies: The Grapes of Canaan

Our desire for abundance represents both the cause for the planet’s perilous condition and the incentive for a possible solution. If (despite Earth’s dwindling resources) we want to continue our present lifestyles, and the desire for abundance is stronger than the desire for being tall, eventually we’ll be forced to seriously consider shrinking the human body into […]

Hourglass, Banana, or Spoon?

Even within a speculative research such as The Incredible Shrinking Man it is difficult to imagine what the average human body will look like if we decide to shrink to 50 centimetres. However, based on the specific physical adaptations to environment and our various diets and different functionalities of the human body, perhaps some presumptions […]

Counterfactual History

If we consider contemporary human size as just one possible outcome of different evolutionary possibilities then perhaps it becomes easier to envision a different, short-sized, future. What if human evolution had developed differently? Counterfactual history tries to answer what-if questions. It explores history by means of extrapolating a timeline in which a key historical event […]

Trijntje Keever / Groote Meidt

At 260cm Trijntje Keever from The Netherlands may well be the tallest woman known in history. Although she lived in the 17th century, when records were scarce and giants often exaggerated height for financial gains at the funfair, there is evidence that she was indeed that tall. A life-size painting and her shoes are on display […]

(Mad) Scientist Fiction

Mankind seems so indoctrinated to think bigger that sometimes the mere suggestion that we should become smaller is thoughtlessly rejected as mad science. Ever since the 20th century our relationship with science, vacillating between science as the salvation of society or its doom, has been personified by the fictional (Hollywood) character of the mad scientist. Following the […]

The Court Dwarfs: Seneb & Bes

In ancient Egypt a remarkable number of dwarfs gained prestigious roles within the dynasty. This can be concluded from the remains of their lavish burials. Egypt’s best known dwarf was Seneb, which means healthy. His career is documented on the false door and the plinths of his statues, which record twenty titles including, beloved of the king, […]