The Dance of Museums (in Post-Apocalyptic Fiction) and the Feminist Hammer (Against the New Normal)

Through film analysis and a review of science fiction, artist and curator Gala Berger wonders about the paradoxes involved in museums as a safeguard of history in view of the end of the world: where colonial, patriarchal, racist and binary structures sublimate the politics of objects.

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  1. One of the most recent examples of this occurred in early July 2020, when the Los Angeles County Museum returned four Buddhist paintingsl, which had been stolen by US troops in 1954 during the Korean War, to South Korea.

  2. This phrase refers to a popular article by Tomás Pueyo, entitled “El martillo y la danza” or “The Hammer and the Dance” in which he argues for a two-pronged approach to containing COVID-19. The first of these (the hammer) involves a serious and strict implementation of containment strategies to flatten the curve. The “dance” refers to the equilibrium society will have to strike between their desire to return to normal life and the need to continue to follow safety protocols to prevent a resurgence in cases. (Translator’s note).

  3. In 1996, four organizations, the ICA, ICOM, ICOMOS, and IFLA, founded the International Committee of the Blue Shield, the equivalent of the Red Cross for the culture sector. It was charged with “the protection of the world’s cultural property and is concerned with the protection of cultural and natural heritage, tangible and intangible, in the event of armed conflict, natural- and human-made disaster.” (Article 2.1, Statues of the Blue Shield, 2016).

  4. Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 23.

  5. Douglas Crimp, “The End of Art and the Origin of the Museum,” Art Journal 46, no. 4 The Political Unconscious in Nineteenth-Century Art (1987): 261-266.

  6. Catherine Lui, “Art Escapes Criticism, or Adorno’s Museum” Cultural Critique 60 (Spring 2005): 217-244.


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