Infrastructures of Containment: Museums, Beyond and Possibilities Into the Future

Link to join the seminar on Teams

Please note this is a change to the seminar originally advertised.

This presentation will discuss a current project that experiments and explores how museums develop simultaneously with, or alongside, other infrastructures like the border, the reserve, camp, detention centre, the prison, and other technologies of containment. Tracing elements of an enduring coloniality, I am interested in revealing the functioning of museums sometimes as ‘containers’, consisting of colonial collections as products of violence, extraction and dispossession. Whilst my research will also contend with how museums, in these processes claimed as preservation, also contain, through practices of, among other things, narration, display and erasure, the forms of knowledge, the histories and the possibilities in what become stultified objects, acquiring a different set of qualities. Concomitantly, infrastructures of bordering, detention and imprisonment are underpinned by the logics of carcerality that have also historically  shaped museum practice. These infrastructures also ‘contain’ people, and in the frames of biopolitical governance, collapse their subjectivities into objects of risk, surveillance, and expulsion, also in the name of protection and preservation.

So how do we make use of the museum infrastructure, space, and contemporary art to explore and challenge these constraining legacies, and experiment different possibilities for museum practice, including beyond the museum in questions of knowledge, mobility and planetary futures.

Pitt Rivers Museum Research Seminar in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology, Hilary 2022

Online on Teams (the link is above)

Fridays, 12pm-1.30pm (Weeks 1-8)

Convened by Chihab El Khachab and Christopher Moreton