Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The National Museum

Purple thought to herself that, the nation could be defined not by its borders or territory or by some fictive shared history of traditions or culture, but instead through an arbitrarily selected series of objects, organized according to a hierarchical chain of classes which began with god the creator also known as the first collector (who in this case was Purple and her acolytes) whose collectiones were divided between artificial representations (in three dimensions) and natural representations which are connected to tools of artifice (or means of acting on nature) while the artificialia were connected to enacted knowledge (in two dimensions). Now, organized in this way, you could display the objects as a kind of theatre (organized along the lines of a Camillo's memory theatre) around which the government could simultaneously display its status as an imperial power while functionally interrogating and consolidating that power by creating workshops, laboratories, studios and exhibition spaces to study and codify them into some form of national culture.

Yet, at the same time Purple acknowledged the inherent problems of the museum, that various objects placed on pedestals, behind glass vitrines, displayed in rows along stone corridors that described a teleological history of progress from barbarism to civilization, from the raw to the cooked, would re-inscribe the very power structures they were attempting to demolish with their anti-imperial state project. And she thought, what if the museum was a theatre, a performance which you could pass your hand through, and the stones were voices and the glass barriers were red and blue stage lights that the subject (the audience) and the object (the displays) could pass through as columns of dust through light...