Re-thinking the museum as a contemporary space – part I

Contrary to the stagnated and fixated social imagery surrounding the traditional museum, the contemporary museum setting can in fact be a transformative and dynamic environment, particularly if it is enacted as such through the social agency of minority communities. This autonomy operates most effectively in conjunction with an audience perception which too, moves beyond tradition and towards that of plurality and community participation, thus providing a view into a minority community museum setting as a contemporary space; where the museum’s artefacts, traditional objects and art are uniquely juxtaposed with contemporary art and narratives.

With cultural difference continuing to be “one of the most explosive geopolitical issues” of our time, cultural philosopher Nikos Papastergiadis argues that in everyday life, people are constantly dealing with this difference and that “artists are in their various ways exploring its complexity.” (2005:39) According to Hohmi Bhabha, cultural difference in fact pushes against the monophonic national identity and “problematizes the division of past and present, tradition and modernity, at the level of cultural representation and its authoritative address…it undermines our sense of the homogenizing effects of cultural symbols and icons, by questioning our sense of the authority of cultural synthesis in general.” (2006, 155)

It is precisely within the fractured realm of such complexities that the contemporary museum aims to sensitively explore the nuances of identity. To understand the potentiality of such a contemporary space, one must also view the challenges of museum practice through the deficiencies of the traditional museum model, but of which Michel Foucault described as “being proper to the nineteenth century” (1967, 7); its Eurocentric and colonial roots, the power-knowledge imbalance and the representation of the ‘other’ as the observable ‘uncivilised’ peoples. (Bennett 1995, Fyfe. ed. Macdonald 2006)

Advertisements

About TheWordEmpress

Nur Shkembi is a Melbourne based curator, writer and scholar. Nur has produced and curated over 150 events, exhibitions and community engagement projects, including You Am I, the first nationwide annual exhibition of contemporary Australian Muslim artists. She has been part of the team establishing the Islamic Museum of Australia since 2010, and until recently served as the museum’s Art Director, Exhibitions Manager and foundation Curator. Much of her interest has been in the development of community awareness in relation to the arts with a focus on the presence of Australian Muslim artists in the dominant discourse. As a museum curator, Nur brought together artefacts, traditional art and contemporary art as a means for collective storytelling, subverting stereotypes and as a provision for the individual narrative. She has served on numerous boards and committees and is a member of the Museums, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Development Advisory committee and the VicArts Visual Arts Advisory panel and Chair of Theatre funding at Creative Victoria. Nur is an editorial assistant for the peer reviewed material conservation journal AICCM Bulletin and an Academic Teacher and Lecturer for the Masters of Curatorship course at the University of Melbourne. She is a published author, with her debut novel Rookie distributed nationwide for the Australian high school curriculum by Cengage. Her writing is also featured in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Gallery magazine and the international arts magazine ReOrient. Nur is also a member of Eleven; a collective of eleven contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators and writers led by internationally acclaimed artist Khaled Sabsabi. The collective includes the artists Abdul Abdullah (four times Archibald Prize finalist), Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Khadim Ali, Walkely Award winning artist Safdar Ahmed, Abdullah M.I. Syed, Idil Abdullahi, Rusaila Bazmalit, Hoda Afshar, Shireen Taweel, Zeina Iaali and the writer and producer, Eugenia Flynn, who is currently one of the nation’s top 10 ‘deadly’ bloggers. Eleven: https://eleven-collective.com/ Nur holds a Masters (First Class Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA & MCM) and is currently a PhD candidate – Doctor of Philosophy – Art, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne and is undertaking interdisciplinary research in material conservation, curatorship and the work of contemporary Muslim artists within the current socio-political climate. Nur is also investigating object agency theory and the contemporary manuscript as an object that disrupts history; employing the de-colonial linking and epistemic disobedience of Walter Mignolo, post-colonialism and the theories of Foucault and Said.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s