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Wolfgang Wild

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Name  Wolfgang Wild
Wolfgang Wild Wolfgang Wild
Born  5 July 1970 (age 45) (1970-07-05) Eastleigh, Hampshire, England

The Past Like You Wouldn’t Believe - Wolfgang Wild, Digikult 2017

Wolfgang "Chris" Wild is a curator, writer, speaker, entrepreneur and musician, and creator of the history brand Retronaut.



Wild started Retronaut in January 2010, sharing daily archival images that show "the past like you wouldn't believe". As Wild has described, during his time working in museums and archives: "there were some objects and pictures I saw that for me had an enormous and seemingly untapped power – a power to disrupt our sense of time, to dissolve the barrier between present and past. I figured that if I could harness that power, I might be able to build something akin to a time-machine. Hence Retronaut."

In its article on Retronaut, Fast Company wrote: "the images on Retronaut are chosen to make the viewer feel like they’re looking not at the past, but rather at a different version of the present"

In November 2013, Retronaut was listed by The Times as one of "The 50 people you should follow on Twitter".

In August 2014, Mashable announced that Wild had joined Mashable's editorial team and that from September 2014, Mashable would be the exclusive online home of the Retronaut brand of historical photo curation. In August 2015, Retronaut was announced as a finalist in the 2015 Online Journalism Awards.

Wild and Retronaut collaborated with print and card makers Prelogram on a series of exclusive Retronaut cards in Fall 2015.

In September 2016, Retronaut became a curating partner for Meural's digital canvas, showcasing a new collection each month.


From September to December 2013, Wild was guest curator at Europeana, the European Digital Museum, Library and Archive. This culminated in Europeana's publication of the paper "Disrupting History".

During 2014, Wild was guest curator at Northumberland Museums and Archives, concluding in a six-month physical exhibition at Woodhorn (Museum) of around 25 pictures from the Northumberland Archives. Several of the pictures were featured on the BBC's Have I Got News for You show.

The Retronaut Woodhorn project was shortlisted for the Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence 2015.

Wild was Guest Curator for the SC Exhibitions Magazine 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In February 2016, Wild's pop-up show Retronaut's New York opened on 5th Avenue, New York, at Premier Exhibitions. The show featured 30 panoramic photographs of New York at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. The exhibition was opened by Josh Sapan, CEO / Chair of AMC Networks and author of panoramic photograph book "The Big Picture".

Wild was a creative consultant to the Magic City: The Art of the Street exhibition, opened in Dresden, Germany in October 2016. He is also a member of the executive creative team for SC Exhibition's / Museum of Popular Culture's Marvel exhibition in Seattle, Washington, due to open in May 2018.


Wild's first book, "Retronaut: A Photographic Time Machine", was published by National Geographic in September 2014. The book received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, saying "With every page comes a surprise; this terrific collection never ceases to entertain". The Daily Mail described it as "A magical tour of the past".

"Retronaut: A Photographic Time Machine" was shortlisted for the AEJMC Best Journalism and Mass Communication History Book Award 2014.

Two further books "The Retronaut Guide to Raising Children" and "The Retronaut Guide to Keeping Pets" were published in September 2016 by Ilex.

Wild wrote about the Winchester School of Art Library Rotunda for the Twentieth Century Society journal. Wild has also contributed an article on the history of denim and the American frontier to Volume Three of Ernest Journal.

At the start of 2016, Wild launched a crowdfunding campaign for the book "The Paper Time-Machine", on the Unbound publishing platform. The book will contain 124 historical photographs arranged chronologically, chosen and introduced by Wild and restored and rendered in colour by Jordan J. Lloyd. The book will be published at the end of 2017.

Wild and Lloyd launched a second Unbound campaign in 2016 for the book "Mr Pegler's Conservatory", in partnership with Bassetlaw Museum. The book will feature more than one hundred autochrome photographs, taken by Stephen Pegler of Retford in Nottinghamshire between 1910 and 1937. The autochromes are part of the archive of Bassetlaw Museum, housed in Amcott House in Retford. The collection is the largest collection of autochromes taken by one person in Britain, and is also in stereoscopy.


Wild has been a speaker at TEDGlobal (2010), DISH (Rotterdam, 2013), Remix London (2012, 2014), Remix New York (2014), Birdie Photography Conference (2014), Culture Jam (Vienna, 2015), Lets Get Real (2015), International Culture Forum (St Petersburg, 2015), The Story (2016), Digikult (Gothburg, 2017), and Dealer Day (Verona, 2017).


In 2011, Wild set up the Museumpreneurs project and website with Shire Books, to showcase and encourage entrepreneurial activity in the museum sector. The project set out its mission statement: “We want to explore what it means for a museum to be entrepreneurial, we want to showcase museums already being entrepreneurial, and we want to help more museums be more entrepreneurial more of the time”. Wild presented on the project at the 2011 Museums Galleries Scotland conference.

In his 2011 keynote speech to the Museums Association conference, Ed Vaizey MP, and Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries talked about the project: "Look at the Museumpreneurs website. Many businesses and many retailers would jump at the chance to work with museums in this way. I was delighted to find their mission statement. For better or worse, that sums up my approach pretty well."

Culture 24

In October 2015, Wild became a board member of British arts and heritage charity Culture 24.


"Faith in You", Wild's remix of British Art rock band No-Man's song "You Grow More Beautiful", was released on the Flowermix album under the name The Prophets of Bliss. Wild had previously appeared in the video for No-Man's "Colours" single (One Little Indian) in 1990.

In 1993, Steven Wilson remixed Wild's track "Dub Zero". The remix was released in 2004 on Wilson's "Unreleased Electronic Music Vol. 1".

In 1994, Wild played guitar in the band Music by Numbers with Peter Chilvers. He would later provide vocals for the band Aimless Mules, alongside Michael Bearpark (guitar) and Andrew Booker (drums).

In 2001, Wild co-wrote and recorded three songs with Bruce Woolley, co-writer of "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Slave to the Rhythm".

Personal life

Wild is married to Associate Professor of English Annie Sutherland, Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford. They have two children: Ruby (b. 2005) and Zebedee (b. 2008) and live near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.


Wolfgang Wild Wikipedia