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‘The museum is the world.’ (Helio Oiticica)

‘A museum is a non-profit-making permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education, and enjoyment, the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their environment.’ (ICOM - Code of Ethics for Museums - Paris: International Council of Museums, 2006, 15.)

Departing from these quotations, ‘The impossible museum of living things’ approaches, collects and documents information that surrounds us, by producing evidences of what is there but is not seen, presenting its findings through different lenses and connections. As a kind of anthropological research, taken by an amateur collector, it results in a semi-analytical artistic construction. The idea behind this semi-public/ semi-private institution is to assemble as many artefacts and evidences as possible about a specific context, on the basis of an expanded notion of site-specificity, that comprehend photo/drawing/images taken from different sites and views; a reunion of bought, found or gifted small objects; followed by presentation of historical material or analytical descriptions that can portrait some fluxes of the specific locality approached by the project. Each element is catalogued and the museum starts to exist with its first collected element or situation. As we may suspect, the physical encounter with objects (and in particular with artworks) is a singular and non-reproducible moment. But if representation can never replace its original referent, what constitutes the doubling of reality when viewers experience representations? Within late capitalism, both object and image are things that are simply other than themselves: they are at same time evidences or referents of external facts, as they are (visual, sensorial) facts in themselves. So, the difference between the living and the artificial is, then, exclusively a matter of narrative frame. Narration, supported by ‘documents’, can address the reading of a living time. In this direction, documentation is able to narrate a history, a fictional path that injects the artificial (art) with life. A practice of making living things out of inanimate ones, an activity out of technical practices. Living things here can be considered the re-animation of things inside structures

of discourse, a narration between fiction and documentation that in the end can open paths to reflect about our contemporary bio-political scenes and situations. Through the notions of collection and art collaboration, on-site knowledge is explored via dialogues that facilitates a re-negotiation of space, memory and values. In exposing a certain cognitive crisis in today’s daily economy of images, as well as the parallel social displacement that occurs even more frequently in spatial terms, the museum points towards how to explore different regimes of visibility and reflection about what defines a site. With the participation of local things in the aesthetic production of ‘a collection of things’ the aim is to open up the possibility for art to resonate in a different and more critical relations to its surrounding contexts as subject matter. In this sense, the museum seeks to utilize aesthetics as a framework that allows access to dialogical paths, towards a possibility for social revaluations, observations and maybe participation in changing processes. In the end, it is not the collection that matters, but its ensemble as a possible trigger to start discussions and to think about specific situations. Normally, ‘The impossible museum of living things’ assumes the format of a small spatial installation, that can be accessed by people during a period of time, and that can grow during the period of the project. As a research-based art project, a display for this ‘itinerant institution’ and its findings and observations is created in every time of its materialization. The display may vary, and can be based on recreations of pieces of historical furniture to the use of available structures at the hosting venues. ‘The impossible museum of living things’ has also a visual identity, that helps to identify it, based in an abstract symbol/ logo related to the idea of borders, limits, spaces and also to the abstractness of contemporary informational environments. Each materialization in a different venue consolidates an “Unstable Collection of The impossible museum of living things”, and this action points also to the systems of surplus and value generation that are present in every cultural production and its circulations in diverse cultural as economic levels. The outcomes of each materialization can assume a condition of documentation, preserving traces of the each provisional collection of the manifested museum, using printed matter as its primary medium.

Impossible Museum of Living Things  

poster for art project, Frankfurt 2011. 70x100 cm

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