Simon Brugner: The Arsenic Eaters (The Eriskay Connection, 2018)

Simon Brugner (1983, Austria) lives in Vienna. He is interested in research-based photography projects with a strong historical background, utilizing archival material as well as contemporary photography.

The Arsenic Eaters investigates the widespread historical belief that the consumption of arsenic, generally known to be a deadly poison, is beneficial to one’s health. Accordingly, many ‘poison eaters’ were found among the Austrian rural population in the nineteenth century. What they were ingesting was white (arsenic trioxide) or yellow arsenic (arsenic trisulfide). It was produced by roasting arsenic-containing minerals.

The book consists of two parts. The first, contemporary part, traces the poison eaters and tries to find a link between the past and the present. It sketches a possible reality in which the obscure habit of arsenic eating is conceivable. The second part presents Brugner’s research, mainly based on medical papers from the nineteenth, early twentieth century and on-location findings. The book features contemporary photographs as well as archival material. Publisher`s Info

Concept, artworks and text: Simon Brugner | Text editing: Scott Clifford Evans | Design: Rob van Hoesel | 205 × 300 mm | 144 p | Otabind paperback in transparent yellow vinyl sleeve | full-colour offset | English | Edition: 1250.



Background: In-depth article on the on-location research by Austrian newspaper Der Standard: “Arsen, das Kokain der steirischen Bauersleut’” (Text in German)

Suitable Music:

Band: The Velvet Underground & Nico | Album: The Velvet Underground & Nico | Year: 1967.