Exotic

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This eBook is part of the TREeBOOK Gallery Collection.
It was created in 2009 during the Master of Science at the University of Lugano inspired on an article by Professor Anna Lisa Tota.
All rights reserved by the artists. Feel free to share this eBook.
To contact TREeBOOK Gallery please write to bia@freeyourideas.net
TREeBOOK Gallery is supported by Free Your Ideas. www.freeyourideas.net.

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Exotic

  1. 1. This eBook is part of the TREeBOOK Gallery Collection. It was created in 2009 during the Master of Science at the University of Lugano inspired on an article by Professor Anna Lisa Tota. All rights reserved by the artists. Feel free to share this eBook. To contact TREeBOOK Gallery please write to bia@freeyourideas.net TREeBOOK Gallery is supported by Free Your Ideas. www.freeyourideas.net.
  2. 2. The word exotic means “from another part of the world, foreign, unusual, different, strange, fantastic”. The word fantastic means strange, extravagant, bizzare, unreal, wonderful, remarkable...
  3. 3. “Exotic” and other words that clearly express a point of view about “theOther” are frequently used by museums to define exhibitions.
  4. 4. But, you already know it, “theOther” is just a point of view! In the same time, for other museums, “the exotic” could be considered pretty regular.
  5. 5. Differences are just differences. They are not good or bad, better or worse. They are just differences.
  6. 6. In museums, “theOther”, “the strange”, “the foreign” is shown because is through knowing different cultures that we can understand our own.
  7. 7. We are just one culture in a world of possibilities, ours is not by any means the only one!
  8. 8. When museums forget this simple rule they move their role in society from an educational entity towards a piece of the entertainment industry.
  9. 9. The problem with the entertainment industry is the fact that, sooner or later, differences will become a source of easy profit.
  10. 10. Showing “the different”, “the strange”, “theOther” they obtain profit and stimulate the cult of “horror circus” where things are shown just for the pleasure of curiosity and money.
  11. 11. So before tagging something as exotic museums must ask themselves:
  12. 12. Exotic from which point of view? How to tell this from a neutral point of view? Which points of view were considered and which were not?
  13. 13. Is this message something expected from a museum? Is the museum giving a good contribution to society with this message? Is this really exotic? For whom?
  14. 14. “Discovering America” is a meaningless history for native people who lived there before the Europeans.
  15. 15. For ancient Brazilian natives on a tropical beach, the “exotic new world” came on board those Portuguese ships, in 1500.
  16. 16. Brazilians are a mix of three antropological elements: native Indians, Africans and Europeans but Brazilian Museums frequently reinforce the dominant “white man” point of view.
  17. 17. We tend to assume the museums point of view as “the truth” because they have the authority to talk about history.
  18. 18. But history belongs to people not just to the museums which have the authority to tell us about our own culture.
  19. 19. Exhibitions are exactly someone else's interpretation of a theme, not necessarily “the truth”.
  20. 20. For human brains it is easier to assume museums point of view as “the truth” than to construct it by ourselves because it requires much more energy.
  21. 21. It's hard to have an active behavior of building our own interpretation about exhibitions also because nobody wants to challenge museums authority.
  22. 22. Museums are sui generis writers because telling us histories through exhibitions they become a kind of “technology of the human beings memory”.
  23. 23. When we remember a fact and tell it to someone, we tend to modify it according our perceptions. This is called “technology of the memory”.
  24. 24. Good museums and good exhibitions must avoid to interpret cultures and “theOther” but stimulate visitors to interpret the message for themselves.
  25. 25. In this sense, museums could be considered as a (good) school or a teacher who stimulates her/his pupils without influencing their development of knowledge.
  26. 26. Museums act at the level of memory formation so because of them people will remember - or not - something.
  27. 27. Because of them people will remember things and history from many points of view or under a miopic and manipulated point of view.
  28. 28. Museums must keep a neutral point of view but it is a hard work because museums are made of people and people have feelings and behave according to them.
  29. 29. In order to achieve a neutral position museums can do many things all related to including different points of view in their “putting on show”.
  30. 30. Behind a neutral behavior, there is certainly a clear mission and a strategic plan to remind staff the reason to work there and the role of the museums in society.
  31. 31. The shift from “treasure guardians” to an “active-social- educational actor” is based on the strategic need of rethinking the museums role in society.
  32. 32. Also the inclusion of technology in museums is part of the process to bring museums alive and more friendly to the citizen.
  33. 33. But we also observe the movement to transform museums as part of the entertainment industry.
  34. 34. In this sense, there is a risk to manipulate history and facts to produce “news” that could generate audience.
  35. 35. Attention: a museum is not a “cabaret” even if it could be alive, funny, friendly and full of exhibitions!
  36. 36. But museums must be careful to mix “the show” to “the history” without manipulanting the facts just to have a successful marketing case.
  37. 37. Museums exist because there are different people and cultures to be represented in the world. Any other mission must be secondary for museums that want to be alive.
  38. 38. Introducing hardwares and softwares in museums could convert them into modern places but just one thing could really make the difference between the old and the contemporary museums:
  39. 39. Just people(ware) could make the difference in museums.
  40. 40. The strategy of museums must include goals related to ongoing staff training alongside the educational aspects aimed at the visitor.
  41. 41. If people (staff and visitors) understand what exactly is the role of the museums in society maybe an impartial position could be achieved by them.
  42. 42. Free Your Ideas www.freeyourideas.net Created and Produced by Bia Simonassi Inspired on Anna Lisa Tota, Tiziano Terzani and Emmanuel Levinas thinking Revised by William Johnston Images by Peggie Wolfe at Deviantart.com Promoted by FreeYourIdeas.net Find more at TreeBookGallery.blogspot.com This eBook is part of the TREeBOOK Gallery Collection. It was created in 2009 during the Master of Science at the University of Lugano inspired on an article by Professor Anna Lisa Tota. All rights reserved by the artists. Feel free to share this eBook. To contact TREeBOOK Gallery please write to bia@freeyourideas.net TREeBOOK Gallery is supported by Free Your Ideas. www.freeyourideas.net.
  43. 43. De Luxe Edition Bia Simonassi Switzerland 2010

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