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Maria Thereza Alves and Jimmie Durham

Museum of European Normality, 2008

Ground Floor (2)

installation

If the western museum is traditionally understood as an authoritative repository of the “extraordinary,” then the Museum of European Normality subverts this structure in revealing what in the aftermath of post-1945 Europe has become the continent’s new “normal.” In the shape of a room filled with easily accessible documents exposing the paradoxes of what “European normality” might mean today— “various artifacts, anthropological studies and philosophical musings on Europe and Europeans” such as maps, videos, press clippings, drawings, texts, photocopies, files, and so on—the work shows pockets of complex, often undemocratic, hostile, or even totalitarian features sophisticatedly folded inside the official self-narration of the so-called West. Some habits and public rituals are closely examined, as much as the imagery originating in commerce, advertising, and popular beliefs. The patterns of movements play a critical role in creating the understanding of what Europe means; in this vein, for example, is an item that resembles a common museum registry, the guest book. Titled Anti-Guest Book, rather than being a book with blank pages awaiting signatures or comments from the visitors, it lists over 5,000 names of people who have died at sea while trying to emigrate to Europe, whether during their attempts to reach the continent or in the waylay of refugee camps. (mh)

62

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FORMER WEST. Documents, Constellations, Prospects. Booklet  

18.03 - 24.03.2013, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin | The Berlin part of the long-term research, education, exhibition, and publication p...

FORMER WEST. Documents, Constellations, Prospects. Booklet  

18.03 - 24.03.2013, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin | The Berlin part of the long-term research, education, exhibition, and publication p...

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