Monday, October 29, 2012

Things and Thinking

A fascinating and wonderful day with Rosanna Raymond and the Indigeneity Project - this was the first Laboratory workshop for a while, and really served our aim of using the Laboratory to generate ideas for where our work might go.  Rosanna began the day by talking about the Polynesian concept of Va - a form of space which does not separate people and things, but which joins them together.  And the practical work of the day became an expression of that, as one by one we showed things we had brought with us, linked to ideas about identity and migration, and shared their stories.  Very soon we were seeing things not in the museum way of "the object", but in terms of their relationship to the human, their agency in relation to people and movement, their presence in the world.

This became especially exciting when some of us moved out into the streets, taking our things with us, to display what we started to call a 'Musée de l'extérieur'.  We tried different ways in which the things could be shown on the streets of London: beside a statue, held by people sitting on Boris bikes, on a row of bollards, held by people standing on a monument.  The versions with the people who knew the stories of the things was most effective, especially when they were positioned so that they were framed by an existing monument or piece of architecture.  And, of course, this sets up a dialogue with the monument itself - which, given that it's London, is almost always in some way to do with imperialism.  These interventions led to members of the public engaging with the things and their stories - asking us about them or photographing us as we held them.  

It's richly suggestive of something we can really develop for the Festival.  Watch this space! 

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