The Space In–Between: Mediating Museum and Gallery

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The Space In–Between: Mediating Museum and Gallery

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  Wilmink 1 Melanie Wilmink Professor Christine RamseyFilm 890AMAugust 27, 2012he !"a#e $n%&et'een( Me)iating Museum an) *alleryhe tra)itional museum infrastru#ture has al'ays #olle#te) an) )is"laye) o+e#ts in the same 'ay - +y #om"iling "hysi#al artifa#ts in #on#rete s"a#es an) )es#ri+ing their history for the .ie'er/ o'e.er, in an age 'here almost e.erything 'e )o is filtere) through me)ia te#hnologies, ho' #an 'e engage 'ith those "hysi#al o+e#ts in the same 'ay ur +rains ha.e +een traine) to think 'ith ne' #inema, internet an) #ommuni#ations tools, #om"letely )is#onne#ting us from the o+e#ts an) s"a#es aroun) us/ With this #inemati# min)%frame, 'hat )oes the tra)itional museum or gallery look like o' )o 'e engage 'ith these s"a#es an) #onne#t 'ith the o+e#ts insi)e them Alternately, ho' )o 'e engage 'ith .irtual "roe#tions 'ithin real s"a#es Where the real meets the .irtual lies an in%+et'een, or a theatri#al stage 'here )ialogue ha""ens/ his essay e3amines the 'ays in 'hi#h this in%+et'een is im"ortant to tra)itional an) mo.ing image #uratorial "ra#ti#es, an) it a#ti.ates the meta"hor of the natural history museum )iorama as an in%+et'een s"a#e to engage ne' metho)ologies for me)ia art in the gallery/ ur un)erstan)ing of the museum as 'e kno' it to)ay )e.elo"e) )uring the 4nlightenment/ he gro'th of s#ientifi# interest in natural history #ause) a relate)  Wilmink 2 in#rease in "ri.ate #olle#ting, 'hi#h e.entually ga.e 'ay into "u+li# #olle#tions/ $t #oin#i)e) 'ith a rise of glo+al tra.el, #oloni5ation an) attem"ts to systemati5e an) la+el all of the ne' e3"erien#es that 4uro"eans 'ere en#ountering at the time/ $t also #ame at a time 'hen the )emo#rati5ation of kno'le)ge 'as in#reasingly im"ortant/ he i)ea of the museum as a reser.oir of kno'le)ge an) a "la#e to e)u#ate the general "u+li# a+out our "la#e in the 'orl) remains to this )ay, an) is intrinsi#ally linke) to the mo)el of the #ontem"orary "u+li# art gallery/ &oth ty"es of institutions are ar#hite#tural s"a#es that house o+e#ts 'hi#h s"eak to us a+out kno'le)ge an) the human e3"erien#e/ hey target au)ien#es that seek to in#rease their un)erstan)ing a+out our "la#e in the 'orl), an) they fa#ilitate it +y #reating #riti#al )is#ourse aroun) the artifa#ts house) 'ithin/ 6uring the late 19th an) early 20th #enturies, the )e.elo"ment of "hotogra"hi# te#hniues )esta+ili5e) the tra)itional notion of art as a re"resentation of reality/ his for#e) .isual arts like "ainting an) s#ul"ture to formulate a ne' "ur"ose/ urning from s#ien#e to'ar)s "hiloso"hy, art #on#e"tuali5e) itself an) mo.e) a'ay from the museum as a "la#e to house histori#al artifa#ts/ $nstea), it +e#ame a "la#e 'here #ertainty 'as uestione) an) "ersonal un)erstan)ing 'as hel) a+o.e the i)ea of ruth an) &eauty/ he gallery +e#ame a "la#e for in)i.i)uals to #ir#umna.igate o+e#ts at their 'ill an) #hoose the im"ortan#e they "la#e) on ea#h 'ork/ $t +e#ame the +lank 'hite #u+e, 'here immersion an) "leasure 'as fro'ne) u"on, an) )istan#e) #ontem"lation en#ourage)/ o'e.er, 'ith the )e.elo"ment of #inema an) ne' me)ia, art has rea#he) another turning "oint/ Although it )oes not )ramati#ally affe#t the notion of art as a uest to un)erstan) our 'orl), it )oes affe#t the 'ay that these 'orks are "resente) in the gallery/ With the  Wilmink 3 #urrent gallery as 'hite #u+e mo)el, me)ia art struggles to engage au)ien#es/ $n many #ases, the tem"orality of mo.ing images #onfli#ts 'ith the transient nature of gallery .ie'ing, an) the )e"en)an#e on )arkness for immersion #auses it to fail in the +rightly lit 'hite #u+e/ he natural history museum, on the other han), #ontinues to a""ly immersi.e an) intera#ti.e )is"lays to a#ti.ate their stati# o+e#ts, an) engage au)ien#es in ne' 'ays/he arts, like any other s"e#ies, must e.ol.e to sur.i.e/ he natural history museum mo)el has "ro.o#ati.e e3hi+ition metho)ologies, an) many of those mo)es of )is"lay might +e 'ell a""lie) to the #urrent gallery mo)el/ Primarily, the museum:s s#ientifi# "ers"e#ti.e inherently sets u" a hierar#hy of trust - one that is la#king in galleries )ue to elitism an) failure to +uil) an a#a)emi# +a#kgroun) for #uratorial "roe#ts/ We are so#ially traine) to a##e"t s#ientifi# metho)ologies as rational, an) therefore "la#e more 'eight +ehin) "ro.en theories than the i)eas of a single "erson/ $t sho's a history of resear#h an) a#a)emi# rigour that +uil)s an argument for the #urator:s o"inions an) sele#tions/ o'e.er there lies a .ali) argument against +oth museum an) gallery "e)agogy, in that it "la#es the institution in the role of a #olonial authority +y asserting a single .ersion of history/ ;et, if )one #orre#tly, these histori#al )is#ourses #an +e not only restri#ti.e, +ut ena+ling as 'ell/ $n her )is#ussion on inter#ultural #inema, <aura Marks 'rites that ='hile they >)is#ourses? limit 'hat #an +e sai), they also "ro.i)e the only language in 'hi#h to say it@ 28/ he i)ea +eing, that although mainstream )is#ourses generally a#t as an authority that shuts out minority .oi#es, +y +eing a'are of this, 'e are a+le to un)ermine it an) )ra' attention to the .oi)s, 'here language an) stories ha.e +een su""resse)/ ne #annot )es#ri+e things 'ithout a set .o#a+ulary, an) if the only one a.aila+le is the  Wilmink 4 mainstream one, then art must 'ork 'ithin that to make its "oint/ Marks refers to the emotional "o'er of thin images in e3"erimental film - 'orks that utili5e +la#k lea)er, +roken au)io, an) )e#aye) images, an) their a+ility to )ra' attention to the missing memories an) "eo"le/// to unre#or)e) histories / !he attri+utes it to an emotional sho#k of seeing the erasure of the ar#hi.e or sto#k images of the )ominant #ulture 72/ Although this is likely "artially the #ase, it is also +e#ause these .oi)s offer us a #han#e to "la#e our o'n stories an) i)eas 'ithin the narrati.e % to +uil) #on#e"ts using the tools that 'e as in)i.i)uals ha.e at our )is"osal( memory an) e3"erien#e/ $t is 'hen 'e "la#e oursel.es in the story that 'e truly engage emotionally 'ith an art'ork/ his #on#lusion is )ra'n )ire#tly from natural history museum )is"lay, 'here the te3ts )is"laye) 'ith the o+e#ts )ra' "arallels to our li.es/ A "rime e3am"le of this is in museum )is"lays on e.olution, 'here an#ient humans are linke) to mo)ern man an) their lifestyles #om"are) to that of to)ay, an) also 'ith en.ironmental e3hi+its that )is#uss the im"a#ts of #limate #hange an) suggest 'ays in 'hi#h humans #an hel" sa.e the 4arth in their )aily li.es/ &y #onne#ting museum an) au)ien#e )is#ourses, the #urator is a+le to en#ourage .ie'ers to o.erlay their o'n inter"retations o.er the offi#ial ones/ his ena+les )ee"er #onne#tions 'ith the 'ork, an) the natural )e.elo"ment of #riti#al thinking, rather than #onsuming "ro"agan)a/ his may, in turn, make it easier for .ie'ers to #riti#ally engage 'ith e3"eriential 'orks like mo.ing image an) me)ia art, 'hi#h rely on em+o)ie) learning as o""ose) to a#a)emi# learning for full effe#t/he most re#ent e)ition of the Manifesta +iennial, hel) from une 2 to !e"tem+er B0, 2012 in *enk, &elgium, is an e3em"lary interse#tion of s#ientifi# an) artisti# "ers"e#ti.es to  Wilmink 5 further )is#ourse/ he .enue of the ol) hea)uarters of a )efun#t #oal mine, heightens )ialogue aroun) lo#al history in #onte3t 'ith the larger artisti# themes/ he +uil)ing also #ontains the Min)e"ot Waters#hei, a museum #reate) +y e3%miners to honour the history an) "eo"le that 'orke) in the fa#ility/ his tra)itional histori#al museum shares its s"a#e 'ith #ontem"orary art e3hi+ition for the )uration of Manifesta 9, an) informs it themati#ally/ <o#al artifa#ts an) #olle#tions a##om"any the art'orks for a flui) )ialogue a+out the role of art in a histori#al an) #ontem"orary #onte3t/ he a""ro"riate) s"a#es of the +uil)ing are left as is - )e#aying an) ra' - an) u3ta"ose) 'ith the 'orks/ his makes .ie'ers intensely a'are of the #onte3t of the e3hi+ition at e.ery "oint, an) the .oi)e) memories of the lo#al 'orkers are un)ers#ore) in e.ery #orner/ As there is no 'ay to )ire#tly a##ess their in)i.i)ual e3"erien#es, it has to +e me)iate) +y the artifa#ts an) art'orks, 'hi#h in turn lea.e their o'n +lanks in e3"lanation, this is then fille) +y .ie'ers inter"retations/ his #onstant stimulation of "ast an) "resent heightens the "o'ers of engagement for all the 'orks in the e3hi+ition an) ties them )e#isi.ely together/ $n a))ition, +y referen#ing the histori#al museum an) )isru"ting the 'hite #u+e, the e3hi+ition )esign also in#reases the .ie'ers a'areness of the 'orks as o+e#ts 'ith an aura/ 4a#h stone in the +uil)ing is em+o)ie) 'ith memory an) history, to +e treate) 'ith res"e#t an) a'e/ &y "ro3y, this a""re#iation of the +uil)ings o+e#t%hoo) also e3ten)s to the non%"hysi#al installations like au)io, .i)eo an) #inema/ !in#e the +uil)ing is #om"rise) of multi"le ni#hes an) hi))en s"a#es, fin)ing a film installation in a #orner is se#reti.e an) sur"rising, +ut also #om"letely natural sin#e they it is "resente) in )ark inner re#esses of the +uil)ing, 'ith seating that en#ourages .isitors to stay an) rela3 into the s"a#e/ he
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