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Workshop2
Reuse of Cultural Material:A challengingtopic
In our workshop,some veryfundamentalquestionswere raisedwithinterm...
because naturallyinthe majorityof casesitisnot 100% clear).The workshopinstructorspointedout
that thisiscertainlynoton the...
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Reuse of Cultural Material: A challenging topic

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Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles workshop abstract

Sharing is Caring X Hamburg, April 2017
http://sharecare.nu/hamburg-2017/

Published in: Education
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Reuse of Cultural Material: A challenging topic

  1. 1. Workshop2 Reuse of Cultural Material:A challengingtopic In our workshop,some veryfundamentalquestionswere raisedwithintermittentlyheateddebates. The methodologywastocollect1-3 questionsfromeachworkshopparticipantwhocouldbe voted for inthe nextstepand to collectivelydiscussthe 3-5mostvotedand thusurgentquestionsduring the workshop. Aftera brief inputfromthe three workshopinstructorsabouttheirexperiencesandthe museum practice in AucklandMuseumwe begandiscussingthe followingissues: - Cultural respectvs.Advancementof Science? - Howto involve communitiesmeaningful? - Who decideswhatistoosensibletobe shown/made available online? - What difference doesitmake toprovide accessonlineto2D imagesand 3d models? We startedwiththe much-disputedquestionsaroundrepatriation,yetnoone inthe workshopsaw culturallysensibleapproachesasbeingcontradictorytowardsthe advancementof science.Asa goodpractice,NellesandAl-Badri mentionedthe DanishgeneticistEske Willerslev,whosought permissionaboutDNA sequencingaswell asaboutpublicationof the resultsfrominthiscase Native NorthAmericansaswell asfrom Aboriginal leaders. Nonethelessthe institutional Angstaboutanemptymuseumwasarticulated,butalsoitbecame apparentthat ina lot of cases itis notabout givingbackall objectsratheraboutseriouslyworking togetherandthe handingoverof decisionmakingtothe so-calledsource communities(butof course thisalsoneedsto include the decisionaboutwhichobjectneedstogoback eventually).Asa real life example,the AucklandMuseumisnotemptyatall,on the contrary.So what mightbe neededistopassthe batonof interpretationalsovereigntyaswell asthe decisional powertothe source communitiesandthere are examples,where thisworksoutwell already. At AucklandMuseum,forexample,theyare undertakingaprojecttitledthe PacificCollectionAccess Projectto enrichthe recordsof 5,000 PacificIslandobjectsfrom13 Islandnations.The Museum reachesoutto these communitiesandinvitesthemtoshare theircultural knowledge aboutthese objects,whichthengetupdatedintheirownlanguage.Inessencethe projectisabout“givingthe voice backto the objects”andmakingthemmore accessible online foraglobal audience. Imagesof these objectsare available onlinebutwhere the objectsare outof copyright,acultural permissions statementisassignedtothese imagesandpermissionissoughtfromthese communitygroupsfor everyreuse request. Subsequently,we discussedthe question:butwhodecideswhoisthe rightgroupto engage within casesin whichitis notclear (andwhichseemtobe a verypersistentargumentmade bymuseums,
  2. 2. because naturallyinthe majorityof casesitisnot 100% clear).The workshopinstructorspointedout that thisiscertainlynoton the museumstodecide aswell.Positivelyspeakingthiscouldrelease some pressure off the museumexperts,too.If discussionandconflictemerge towardsthe exact belongingof the objects,thenitshouldalsobe foughtinside the source communities,nations, regions,etc. intheirway.Everythingelseisagainpatronisingbehaviour. NellesandAl-Badri stated here "Don't give awaythe art, give awaythe poweryouholdoverit." In the end,we discussedthe questionwhetherthe thirddimensionmattersornot.The two- dimensional depictionfromearlycave drawingstill abstractorhyper- photorealisticpaintingscanbe characterisedassubjective andinterpretative of reality. Photographyendeavourstoaccomplishtotal objectivityinthe genre of repro-photography.And repro-photographyachievedtominimise subjectivitytoa large extent,andyetonlythe 3D scan capturesthe objectsto be reproducedwithcompletecalculatedprecisionandzerosubjectivity. Therefore we cansay: twoscans of the same thingwill lookthe same.Thisphenomenoncertainly will have substantialimplicationsonlegal andcopyrightissuesaswell. To conclude aftersome discussionthe workshopinstructorsstatedthatmuseumswouldn'tbe empty,butthe museumworldneedstostoppatronizingandlet goof material objectsof other culturesandalsoallowalternative knowledgesystemstobe an active/integral partof museumsin orderto be relevantandcontemporary.Itwill happenanyways,withorwithoutmuseumsthrough the rise of visibilityandactivismon- andofflineof indigenousknowledge andreclamationacts. These were the otherquestionswe wouldhave discussedif therewasmore time,yetposting questionsisagoodthingto start with: - Howto change the orderof knowledge? - Howto realise conservationof objectsinthiscontext - discussingthe rhetoricsusedaroundthe Nefertiti Hack(i.e.piracy,illegal,loot)againstthe backgroundof possessionof the museum - Is the massof displayingonlineyetanothercolonial gesture? - Howcan we displaythe undisplayable? - Shouldwe repatriate objectsandtocommunitiesandjustkeep3dmodelsasmuseums?

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