Curiosite: what curators do

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An exploration of themes pertinent to curating and museum/exhibition design, followed by a case study of Conflictorium - a participatory museum on conflict

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Curiosite: what curators do

  1. 1. A TRIP THROUGH A WORLD OF IDEAS
  2. 2. curious (adj.) mid-14c., ―eager to know‖ (often in a bad sense), from Old French curios ―solicitous, anxious, inquisitive; odd, strange‖ (Modern French curieux) and directly from Latin curiosus ―careful, diligent; inquiring eagerly, meddlesome,‖ akin to cura ―care‖ (see cure (n.)). The objective sense of ―exciting curiosity‖ is 1715 in English. In booksellers’ catalogues, the word means ―erotic, pornographic.‖ Curiouser and curiouser is from ―Alice in Wonderland‖ (1865).
  3. 3. curiosity (n.) late 14c., ―careful attention to detail,‖ also ―desire to know or learn‖ (originally usually in a bad sense), from Old French curiosete ―curiosity, avidity, choosiness‖ (Modern French curiosité), from Latin curiositatem (nominative curiositas) ―desire of knowledge, inquisitiveness,‖ from curiosus (see curious). Neutral or good sense is from early 17c. Meaning ―an object of interest‖ is from 1640s.
  4. 4. curio (n.) ―piece of bric-a-brac from the Far East,‖ 1851, shortened form of curiosity (n.).
  5. 5. The Great Exhibition of 1851
  6. 6. …an erotics of showing/seeing?
  7. 7. memory (n.) mid-13c., ―recollection (of someone or something); awareness, consciousness,‖ also ―fame, renown, reputation,‖ from Anglo-French memorie (Old French memoire, 11c., ―mind, memory, remembrance; memorial, record‖) and directly from Latin memoria ―memory, remembrance, faculty of remembering,‖ noun of quality from memor ―mindful, remembering,‖ from PIE root *(s)mer- ―to remember‖ (Sanskrit smriti ―remembers,‖ Avestan mimara ―mindful;‖ Greek merimna ―care, thought,‖ mermeros ―causing anxiety, mischievous, baneful;‖ SerboCroatian mariti ―to care for;‖ Welsh marth ―sadness, anxiety;‖ Old Norse Mimir, name of the giant who guards the Well of Wisdom; Old English gemimor ―known,‖ murnan ―mourn, remember sorrowfully;‖ Dutch mijmeren ―to ponder‖). Meaning ―faculty of remembering‖ is late 14c. in English.
  8. 8. history (n.) late 14c., ―relation of incidents‖ (true or false), from Old French estoire, estorie ―chronicle, history, story‖ (12c., Modern French histoire), from Latin historia ―narrative of past events, account, tale, story,‖ from Greek historia ―a learning or knowing by inquiry; an account of one’s inquiries, history, record, narrative,‖ from historein ―inquire,‖ from histor ―wise man, judge,‖ from PIE *widtor-, from root *weid- ―to know,‖ literally ―to see‖. Related to Greek idein ―to see,‖ and to eidenai ―to know.‖ In Middle English, not differentiated from story; sense of ―record of past events‖ probably first attested late 15c. As a branch of knowledge, from 1842. Sense of ―systematic account (without reference to time) of a set of natural phenomena‖ (1560s) is now obsolete except in natural history.
  9. 9. ―The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.‖ ― Milan Kundera
  10. 10. Umberto Eco – Travels in Hyperreality
  11. 11. Itihasa, as it has come down to us, consists of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana (sometimes the Puranas too, are included). The Mahabharata includes the story of the Kurukshetra War and also preserves the traditions of the lunar dynasty in the form of embedded tales. The Puranas narrate the universal history as perceived by the Hindus – cosmogony, myth, legend and history. The Ramayana contains the story of Rama and incidentally relates the legends of the solar dynasty. (wikipedia)
  12. 12. ―No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.‖ ― Roger Zelazny
  13. 13. Death of the Grand Narrative —Jean-Francois Lyotard
  14. 14. Seeking to save the planet - with a Thesaurus
  15. 15. Anticipating reception and staging/subverting it
  16. 16. THE CONFLICTORIUM STORY
  17. 17. IMAGINING CONFLICTORIUM • Participatory Museum • Community Arts centre • Cafe • Gallery • Co-working space • Part formal/part casual • Performance/Screening • Legal aid center • Library/reading/writing room • Conversation + Dialogue • Intervention • Organically growing • Melting pot – artists, researchers, students, teachers, housewives, musicians, tourists, community around, engineers, geeks, foodies, parents, dancers, weavers, farmers and many other kinds!
  18. 18. Perspectives. A sculptural installation that illustrates the core of every conflict—differing perspectives of the same reality/fact Gallery of Disputes. A collection of artefacts from history that have divided people, often violently Responsorium. A series of pods where the individual enacts various modes of response to a provocation—thereby experiencing being at the different corners of a conflict Law|Truth|Justice. A mini-light and sound show on society’s instruments to establish facts and deliver justice Kshamayachana. A Jainism- and Zen-inspired silent space where people awaken and cleanse their conscience Café. Delicious light snacks and beverages served without any fixed price or foods from conflicting groups served in combination or food from the two sides of Ahmedabad city served in the same place Charchā no Chotro. A mini-amphitheater for debates, discussions, jan sunwais and performances Bazaar-e-Ahimsa. A fair trade store with a range of eco-friendly and violence-free personal and home accessories/mementos and publications
  19. 19. The Participatory Museum — Nina Simon
  20. 20. THE BATTLE OVER NARRATIVE
  21. 21. Kavita Singh teaches art history at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her courses cover two broad areas: the history of Indian painting (Mughal and 'Rajput') and the history and politics of museums. She is currently working on a book on the place of museums in post-colonial India.
  22. 22. ―Far from being a curious local phenomenon, this blurring of the boundary between museum and shrine is, we believe, emblematic of the shape-shifting of key cultural institutions in response to the needs of the new cultural economy that art history as a discipline must acknowledge and to which it must respond.‖
  23. 23. THE BATTLE OVER NARRATIVE

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