︎Unlearning Museums

*This is the Part1 of my BFA thesis project. It’s the creative research foundation for Part2(final): EmptyCube Museum.

Stage01:Hidden Stories

“Collecting is a procedure that transforms the violence of looting into a decent and even fascinating practice. The fact that these objects were looted was denied to make room for professional procedures (such as preservation, research, restoration, etc.), to make them into pure works of art. Thus, violence and crimes were rationalized.” -- Ariella Azoulay, Potential History, 2019

The reflections of the glass enclosures make something distorted or invisible, just as museums have the ability to make some stories invisible. These enclosures isolate the objects from the outside world and their original contexts, making the objects pure artworks in sterilized white cubes.

Stage02:White Cubes

Most of the objects (whether obtained in rational ways or not) were detached from their original contexts and placed in white cubes. The "essence" of these objects has changed or been erased. They became mere artworks that lost their original function and significance.
This zine records my observations and reflections at The Met's ancient Egyptian gallery, revealing the gap between the objects and their social contexts.

Stage03:Museum as Database

Accession number, which is the new name given to each object when it is brought into museums. Based on modern Western theories and narrations, objects were categorized and displayed as artworks. They are trapped in glass enclosures. Are they musical instruments and amulets or are they documentation that is part of the database?