“The problem with things is that they are dumb. They are not eloquent, as some thinkers in art museums claim. They are dumb. And if by some ventriloquism they seem to speak, they lie.”
That was the first line of an assigned reading in a Museum Anthropology class this week. The author was discussing the various ways museums assign meaning to objects, not taking into account what pictures want or the agency of the object. Quite a difference to the readings for our class tomorrow!
(Crew SD, Sims JE. 1991. “Locating Authenticity: Fragments of a Dialogue.” In Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display, ed. I Karp and S Lavine. pg 159.)