Small, rebellious museums. Heritage awaiting a succession (Sandra Ferracuti)

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In Italy, the academic and professional practice of Museum Anthropology has frequently crossed its path with that of so-called “spontaneous museography”. Its passionate and charismatic actors, auto-didactic researchers active all over the Country since the Seventies, share the objective of preserving and promoting material and immaterial documentation on the Italian pre-industrial way of life.

Simbdea has a long history of dialogue, research, collaboration and reflection on their objectives, aesthetics, methods and realizations. Members of our association are professional, academic as well as “spontaneous” museographers.

The reciprocal influence the two fields have had on each other contributed to the enlarged and complex vision of “cultural heritage” that Simbdea “naturally” inherited from its anthropological perspective, and that is distinctive of the stand from which we continue exploring and collaborating to national and international museographic pratice.

Such a dialogue still consists in a crucial basis for possible further experimentation and collaboration, as well as for a long-awaited recognition of the significant and vital “alternative heritage” to which, globally, many undisciplined, provocative practices direct our attention.

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  • Anno di Fondazione : 2001 (in AISEA intorno al 1990) nasce nel 2001 con lo scopo di riunire studiosi, curatori di musei e operatori museali a vario titolo, al fine di: - proporsi come luogo di riflessione sui beni demoetnoantropologici e sul museo quale fenomeno d’espressione, d’incontro, di produzione culturale e di educazione interculturale; - promuovere iniziative per il pieno riconoscimento e per lo sviluppo del settore demoetnoantropologico nel sistema dei beni culturali italiano; - tutelare il settore demoetnoantropologico nei musei e sul territorio attraverso attente valutazioni degli interventi delle istituzioni pubbliche e private; - consolidare e sviluppare le conoscenze e le competenze antropologiche applicate al museo e ai beni demoetnoantropologici in campo scientifico e professionale; - promuovere il riconoscimento delle culture locali e "altre" presenti nel territorio e/o documentate e rappresentate nei musei demoetnoantropologici come parte essenziale della memoria comune da radicare nel futuro, e orientare in tal senso la politica dello Stato, delle Regioni e degli Enti Locali. (art.5 dello statuto). SIMBDEA nasce dal lavoro di Antropologia Museale, sezione dell'AISEA (Associazione Italiana per le Scienze Etno-Antropologiche) che prese avvio intorno al 1990 e che intendeva stabilire un collegamento tra la tradizionale museografia demologia ed etnologica italiana, caratterizzata da una impostazione filologica e documentativa, e l’ antropologia dei musei e dei patrimoni. Di Antropologia Museale SIMBDEA è continuatrice, anche nel nome della rivista che è in un certo senso anche 'nome proprio' della Associazione attuale. Anche nel rapporto con altri settori della museografia e del sapere, e con altre associazioni dei musei, SIMBDEA è impegnata a dare visibilit à alle competenze museali demoetnoantropologiche, di farne comprendere il valore e la specificit à , anche l’originalit à .
  • Small, rebellious museums. Heritage awaiting a succession (Sandra Ferracuti)

    1. 1. Small, rebellious museums. Heritage awaiting a succession Sandra Ferracuti Heritage Care through Active Citizenship Mechelen, March 23rd-24th, 2009
    2. 2. Italian “spontaneous” ethnographic museography <ul><li>In Italy, the academic and professional practice of ethnographic museography has frequently crossed its path with that of so-called “spontaneous museography”. </li></ul><ul><li>Its passionate and charismatic actors, auto-didactic researchers active all over the Country since the Seventies, share the objective of preserving and promoting tangible and intangible documentation on the Italian pre-industrial way of life. </li></ul>
    3. 4. “ The great changes occurred after WWII have made of Armungia an average European village […]. Armungia is the typical fruit of the changes and developments in economics that have occurred non only in Europe, but in the West in general”. “ The postwar developments have also meant the advance of a sort of demographic abyss that threatens its future ”. ( G.Angioni, 2000) Sa Domu de is Ainas
    4. 5. <ul><li>“ The menace of extinction is clearly evident to those that still inhabit [Armungia]” </li></ul><ul><li>(G. Angioni, 2000) </li></ul>
    5. 6. <ul><li>“ The study of the past necessarily has its centre in the present […]. The past itself is a present creation, and history an instrument for legitimating or de-legitimating the contemporary ”. </li></ul><ul><li>(P.P. Viazzo, 2000: 25) </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is not the past determining and explaining the present, but the present, imposing its own issues and interests to historical research, to create the past .” </li></ul><ul><li>(P.P. Viazzo, 2000: X) </li></ul>
    6. 7. “ History only exists as long as individuals and groups recall it, give it life in a ‘dialectical’ and imaginative connection operated in a present ‘now’. Not all history […] but parts of history .” (W. Benjamin, 1986: 51)
    7. 8. <ul><li>In the Eighties, some of the inhabitants of Armungia, have “recalled” a part of their past, the one regarding the old ways to make a living in Armungia. </li></ul><ul><li>They have searched, selected, and preserved some visible testimonies of the one “area” of the community history that is often occasion for conflict in the present (due to growing unemployment), and with the present young generation (due to their supposed “lack of entrepreneurship”). </li></ul><ul><li>AS: “[...] As long as we have remained in our village, we have worked for the village to be… growing , bettering and getting more and more fit for living ” </li></ul>
    8. 9. <ul><li>“ The transmission of significance does not mean leveling on continuity, but awakening or opening to the depth of future, starting from the crisis of the present ” </li></ul><ul><li>(S. Borutti, U. Fabietti, 1988: 8) </li></ul>Dreamers of the past , inventing a future: putting together the “tools” for constructing one
    9. 10. The activity of a cultural vanguard? <ul><li>“ Each epoch not only dreams of the next one but, dreaming, it urges to an awakening ” </li></ul><ul><li>(W: Benjamin, 1986: 51) </li></ul>
    10. 11. <ul><li>“ There is a difference between a significant find and the capacity of recognizing a significant find” </li></ul><ul><li>(E. Tonkin, 2000: 25) </li></ul>
    11. 18. Re-activated dialogues with time and change “ To become conscious of the relativity (and then of the arbitrariness ) of any element that is characteristic of our civilization is already changing it a bit” (G.E. Marcus, M.M.J. Fisher (citing Todorov), 1994: 177).
    12. 19. Old and new complicities <ul><li>The “complicity” of anthropology with the colonial discourse on “the Other” denounced by Said (1978) seemed to have made of the discipline the only true victim of postcolonial critique (Oguibe, in 2004, refers to anthropology as “the handmaid of Empire” (O. Oguibe 2004: 5) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Complicity” has been chosen by George Marcus (1998) as a defining term for the core method for the construction of anthropological knowledge: ethnography </li></ul>
    13. 20. Collaborative museography. Paying a debt? Becoming worthy of a heritance? Sharing, often together with a status of marginality, a mission of cultural critique?
    14. 21. <ul><li>“ Representation is not only identification, but also consciousness, i.e. the dimension that produces distance and, finally, critical thinking ” </li></ul><ul><li>(F. Remotti, 1988: 65). </li></ul>Left: A. Manjate, Conselho de Anciãos (Council of the Elders), 2005, (detail). Up: A. Manjate, Laços (Ties), 2006.
    15. 22. Muséographie de rupture - Reflexive Museography Musée d'Ethnographie de Neuchâtel
    16. 23. Museo del Brigantaggio (Itri (LT) - Italy)
    17. 25. <ul><li>Such an ongoing dialogue still consists in a crucial basis for possible further experimentation and collaboration, as well as for a long-awaited recognition of the significant and vital “ alternative heritage ” to which, globally, many undisciplined, provocative practices direct our attention. </li></ul>
    18. 26. Left: D.Le Bas, Roma Europe (2000). Paradise Lost Pavillion (Venice Biennale, 2007) Europe “Unpacked” (S. Hassan - I. Dadi (eds), Unpacking Europe. Towards a Critical Reading , Rotterdam: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen/NAi Publishers, 2001
    19. 27. <ul><li>“ Contemporary articulations of diaspora [can be] seen as potential subversions of nationality, as ways to sustain connections with more than one place, practicing, at the same time, non absolutist forms of citizenship ” (J. Clifford, 1999) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Roma identity functions as a model for a modern and transnational European identity , capable of cultural fusion and of adapting to changing circumstances”. (T. Junghaus, 2007: 21). </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Roma Pavillion] is the first truly European Pavillion in the Biennale’s history” . (A. Neier, 2007: 13). </li></ul>
    20. 28. <ul><li>Alternative landscapes </li></ul><ul><li>dreaming and awaiting? </li></ul><ul><li>370 Museums for </li></ul><ul><li>Intangible heritage </li></ul><ul><li>Rome, January 20th, 2008 </li></ul>
    21. 29. www.simbdea.it www.amrivista.org Thank you for your attention

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