29 SES 08, Museums and Arts Education
“The future of museums is inside our own homes”.
Starting from this ambiguous affirmation from turkish novelist Ohran Pamuk, in his catalogue for “The Innocence of Objects” (2012), it is our ambition to enroll onto a series of actions embedded in an ongoing change to be operated today by contemporary art museums.
This shift is silently reshaping the role of the museums today, and is running freely in two contradictory directions.
First brings us to the past mission of most museology institutions: the reproduction of structured models, educationally based on the transmission of established power and knowledge – with all contradictions and minority based struggles included. Most of these museums are aiming to big achievements and spectacular architectural structures.
The other direction starts by focusing on contemporary art museums, to open to a possible direction into which individualism and personal/private narratives can be actively experienced in such terms: the museum can include ingenuous individual memories and approximate itself to a small private house.
The fact that the art museum derives from historical sites in its past, creates an umbilical bond between these institutions, articulating past and present as two parallel realities. And sometimes it is impossible to distinguish them.
The life that lies in an object - instead of its creator - includes a universalized perspective, too important to be discarded.
The role of reproducing hierarchical powers was historically reflected on the museum function.
Is this still pertinent to derive from, when today we are watching – in a globalized perspective – the importance given to individual narratives as a way of transmitting knowledge?
The realism embedded in a true story is potentially approximate to the identity’s feeling one looks for, when visiting archival facilities, libraries and museums.
We all look forward to see the future, but we continuously find more answers about ourselves in the past.
Can it be that our notion of collective memory is growing through the use of individual gatherings?
The richness of content in a contemporary art museum is grounded in the experience of the works of art exhibited there.
The complexity of an experience is often performed by most simple objects, therefore, a privileged museum experience can be manifested by the integration of real life objects in it. Some artists may exceptionally exemplify this idea, such as Doris Salcedo, Mark Dion ou Fred Wilson, to mention a few.
Some works, such as “Noviembre 6 y 7” (2002), perform a historical vision of the past, as well as an emotional experience, that approximates us of a traumatic feeling.
But what if the object does no longer expect to enter the museum space?
Will the museum be pleased with everyday objects instead of artworks? This is the actual proposal of Pamuk, who wrote “The Museum of innocence” as a book, at the same time as he was creating a museum project to display the objects used by his main character (both fictional, but both based on real facts: the objects were all found on old hoarder’s houses in Istanbul).
The nature of the object shapes its content. If it is an object becoming a work of art, it becomes even more ambiguous.
The object in a museum outlives all equals: if we take a chair as an example, we will have a normal chair representing all others that are not there. But what is the chair about? The wood it’s made of; its size and shape; the style it was designed by; the absence of its owner; the killing of inhabitants, remnants of what life was.
AAVV, “The Archive” - Documents in contemporary art, (2006), ed. Charles Merewether, Whitechapel & The MIT Press; AAVV, “Atlas of transformation”, (2012), Prague, ed. Tranzit.cz; AAVV, “Participation” - Documents in contemporary art, (2006), ed. Claire Bishop, Whitechapel & The MIT Press; AAVV, “Questioning history – Imagining the past in contemporary art”, Reflect #7, ed. NAi publishers, Rotterdam; BAL, Mieke, “Of what one cannot speak – Doris Salcedo’s political art”, (2010), ed. The University of Chicago Press; BHARUCHA, Rustom (2007): “The Limits of the Beyond”, Third Text, (397-416) available online http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528820701433380 last acessed on February 2014; BOLD, Christine, (2012), “Using narrative in research”, ed. SAGE Publications, Ltd, U.K; BOURRIAUD, Nicolas, “Relational Aesthetics”, (2002), ed. Les présses du réel; CLIFFORD, James. "Museums as Contact Zones." Representing the Nation: A Reader. David Boswell and Jessica Evans, eds. New York: Routledge; FLETCHER, Harrel & JULY, Miranda, “Learning To Love You More” (2007), ed. Prestel, Germany; FRASER, Andrea, “Museum Highlights: the writings of Andrea Fraser”, (2005), The MIT Press; GRAHAM, Janna, “Ultra-redRE:ASSEMBLY”, in “Center for Possible Studies” available online http://centreforpossiblestudies.wordpress.com/ last acessed on December 2013; GIBBONS, Joan, “Contemporary art and memory: images of recollection and remembrance”, (2007), ed. I.B. Tauris & Co; HUBERMAN, Georges Didi, (2001), “Atlas: How to carry the world on one’s back?, Exhibition catalogue, ed. Museu Reina Sofia; MORSCH, Carmen, (2007), “At a Crossroads of Four Discourses”, ed. by documenta 12; O’NEILL, Paul, “Curating and the educational turn”, (2010), ed. De Appel; O’NEILL, Paul, “Curating Subjects”, (2007), ed. De Appel; PAMUK, Orhan, “The innocence of objects”, from “The Museum of Innocence – Istanbul”, (2012), ed. Abrams, NY;
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