Er museumsgenstande døde ting? Eller kan de vækkes til live gennem deres brug i forskning og udstillinger? Til dette foredrag præsenterer Nicholas Thomas sine tanker om museumssamlinger og deres udvikling over tid.
Nicholas Thomas er professor i antropologi og historie. Han har været leder af Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge siden 2006.
Museums are notoriously spaces for dead things. Yet, over recent decades, curators, commentators and visitors have become increasingly interested in the 'afterlives' of museum artefacts, in the capacity of things to assume new identities. This lecture takes collections to be made up, not just of works or specimens, but of relationships. Those relationships may be just latent, or dormant, for extended periods, but can be dramatically restaged. Like the actors in Prospero's play within Shakespeare's Tempest, artefacts can come alive and entrance us, opening up the question of what is real and substantial and what is 'just' performance or 'spirit'. Taking as an example a collection in Cambridge made during the first voyage of Captain James Cook, the lecture considers the knowledge that a remarkable assemblage of artefacts and art from the Pacific represented at the time of its acquisition, and the agency and performance that the taonga (ancestral treasures) empower now. What were at one time eighteenth century specimens perform again, and have become 'such stuff as dreams are made on'.
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Foredraget er en del af konferencen Collections, Knowledge, and Time 8. - 9. november 2019 på Medical Museion.