Single mothers, former criminals, homeless people and punks at a "human zoo."

Homeless people, former criminals, single mothers and punks were caged and put on display this weekend in Hamburg's Kampnagel cultural center.

The controversial art project was created by Vienna-based performance collective God's Entertainment. The collective created the installation, which showcased "unwanted human urban people," as a way of forcing viewers to confront existing social stereotypes.

It wasn't entirely well received, especially among politicians. The local Green party spokesperson told German newspaper Bild that, "grievances and discrimination must be made visible. But that's too crass." A government social policy spokesman called it "inhuman."

Human zoos have a history in Germany's second biggest city. The 19th-century animal trader and Hamburg native Carl Hagenbeck pioneered the idea, displaying humans alongside animals in zoos. Hagenbeck had indigenous people all over the world captured and brought to Germany for visitors to observe at Hamburg's Tierpark Hagenbeck zoo (which he founded).

Below, via Reuters, images from the exhibit:

Gerrit, a former criminal, speaks with visitors from his cage at the "Human ZOO" performance event. Picture taken June 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Punk Stephan Lau (R) talks with visitors from his cage at the "Human ZOO" performance event. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Homeless man Torsten sits in his cage at the "Human ZOO" performance event. Picture taken June 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Homeless men sit in a cage at the "Human ZOO" performance event. Picture taken June 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Homeless man Felix (L) speaks with visitors from his cage at the "Human ZOO" performance event in the cultural centre of Kampnagel in Hamburg. Picture taken June 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)

Postcards showing participants of the "Human ZOO" performance event are offered in a shop in the cultural centre of Kampnagel in Hamburg. Picture taken June 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Cigarette stubs and sweets are offered in a shop to buy as 'presents' for participants of the "Human ZOO" performance event in the cultural centre of Kampnagel in Hamburg. Picture taken June 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)

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