marți, 17 septembrie 2019

Visualisation of complex information

Is it enough to think complex ideas, if these ideas do not reach the public?
How information is transmitted, synthetized and publicised are also three very important factors we need to bear in mind.
LA LOMA designed some great exhibitions/ projects, from The Fascinating World of the Piano (, visual tactics for protests and activists, The Glass Room pop-up expo (about looking into your online life and many others.

Image result for visualisation

joi, 4 iulie 2019

Good to think with: Visualising Cultures: Media, Technology and Religion (BASR Annual Conference 2019)

The British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR) is receptive to including the
participation of scholars in other disciplines and fields of study.

This year, the conference (Leeds, UK/ 2-4 September 2019)  will be held in collaboration with documentary film makers from Leeds Trinity University’s Media, Film and Culture team and IRIS (International Research Centre for Interactive storytelling) and will include the screening of several documentary projects. As such, we welcome papers and panels on the theme of screen media, film and religion as well as on the academic study of religion/s more generally. It does not need to fit the theme. 

This can include religion in all types of media, including, but not limited to:
• Film
• Documentary
• Gaming – virtual worlds
• Digital technology
• Production of screen media projects on religion
In addition, we welcome any research approach applicable to the study of religion/s,
including but not limited to:
• Visual ethnography
• Filmmaking
• Collaborative practice
• Photo-elicitation
• Other innovative research methods

More info at:
Keynote: Dr James Kapalo, University College, Cork, who is the Principal Investigator of
the European Research Council Project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden
Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe (Hidden Galleries).

luni, 3 iunie 2019

Memory stones/ Stolpersteine, Jewish and Roma Heritage in Europe

The German artist Gunter Demnig began his Stolperstein project in the mid-1990s as a guerrilla art installation in Berlin. It has grown enormously, and now it is arguably the world’s largest participatory counter-memorial. Stolpersteine -‘stumbling stones’ – are 10 cm x 10 cm brass plates affixed to cobblestones, bearing the names and dates of birth, deportation, and murder or survival of victims of Nazi Germany; they are installed in the pavement/sidewalk in front of the ‘last residence of choice’ of the person(s) being commemorated. There are now over 70,000 Stolpersteine located in 24 countries. The installations are organized through a combination of individual, state sponsored and grass roots efforts.

The scholars Ruth Mandel and Rachel Lehr are carrying out multi-sited ethnographic research about this and other site-specific artists’ responses to the Holocaust. They describe here what they are finding, starting in Norway where the traveled 5,000 km with Demnig, observing and even taking part in installation ceremonies. Mandel and Lehr attended many installations–not only in Norway, but Austria, Hungary, and Germany (we hope to attend many more). At all these, people treated the stones with great reverence. The improvised installation rituals we observed took many forms—religious, secular, simple, elaborate; but all seemed to share a sense of the sacred—even if momentary. Flowers, candles, stones, and photos of the deceased, were arranged around the Stolpersteine, and were well-documented. This was a striking contrast with the local landscape directly following an installation. Afterward, the stone simply became a small glint interrupting the grey stones surrounding it, offering passers-by a chance to stumble across it, bend down, read, and reflect—or to pass on by.

Some of the questions of the two researchers are:

For example, why are there so few stones in Poland—despite the artist’s offer to donate and install them gratis?  Why have some municipalities  banned their installation? Why do some Jewish leaders opposed them? Do they pose threats? How do different generations of descendants respond? How do local people interact with them?
These are some of the questions that will be guiding the next stages of our ongoing research

There are two things I find really inspiring about this project. First that it allows small gestures and material presences of memorisation to weave into the social fabric of contemporary Europe. Second, that it prompts contemporary stories about Europeans reactions to these acts of memorialisation. Some of them are really disturbing - you would not imagine people still having something 'against' the victims...

Please read more:

In Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, there is a lot of potential into 'planting' these stones into the pavement of cities and villages, for the many victims...
The artist, in his website says that the victims were: Jews, Sinti, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, mentally and/or physically disabled people, those persecuted for their political views, their sexual orientation, forced laborers, people persecuted on the grounds that they were ‘asocial’ such as homeless people or prostitutes—anyone who was persecuted or murdered by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945.

marți, 18 decembrie 2018

Open Access: how to disseminate published research

In many countries around the world, people do not have access to research publications. The fees are too big to be paid by researchers themselves and institutions are not ready to sign complicated and expensive deals with publishing companies and on-line libraries.

The issue in itself is very problematic and totally un-fair. On one hand, researchers do research without paying to gather the information they accumulate; on the other hand, publishing houses restrict access to the knowledge produced and disseminate it among those who have the money to pay for it.

As a reaction to this problem, some publishing houses started to publish open access ( for example UCL Press), other research publications turned this policy into their favour (e.g. HAU Journal).

Interestingly enough, universities in the UK ask their staff to up-load on their open access platforms Author's Pre-Publication Versions of their articles. Only if up-loaded there their publications matter for the next REF. Goldsmiths has a Ref 2021 Eligibility & Open Access guide where researchers are asked to up-load their published articles no later than three months after publication.
 It is true that articles do not look so beautiful as they would look, once published and formatted. And also that one cannot really know how to quote properly (what page should they put? ). But, at least, in a more rough form, we can say that we see an interest in making research' outcomes more open.

A very good website where one can check publisher's copyright policies is
Another one is

For the first one, just introduce the name of the article.

marți, 4 decembrie 2018

The Merger, and other films at the Migration Film Festival 02 December 2018

I was invited by Alternative Fictions, which works with film and multimedia to explore issues around representation and storytelling,   to attend round-table discussions around migration and representation in the London Migration Film Festival.

For some reasons, I did not see the invitation and I did not manage to attend this great initiative. Looking at the list of films screened I saw the trailer for The Merger.

Image result for the merger movieImage result for the merger movie 

I like the title of this movie and the very idea of merging.

It is a comedy, and yes we know that very often experiences of migration are far from humorous... But at the same time I think dislocation, and all the bitterness and hardships surrounding the migration process, offers to all those who live through it, and to all those who support 'the migrants,' also possibilities of wonder and of irony and humour, and last but not least playfulness - with all the staging that it presupposes. What it is needed in a society to be accepted?

Maybe the very act of merging, which is so difficult to be done in classical museum displays, is something that could be used in future exhibitions about migration.

sâmbătă, 30 iunie 2018

Below the Surface

Promotie Vitrine

Are you bored with museums? This museum in Amsterdam seems like a good remedy for that.
I did not see it, but I would love to. This one and The Museum of Jurassic Technology!
Let's start a list of the weird independent sector.

marți, 19 iunie 2018

Local History Museums and Ordinary Curating in London

Have you ever wondered why some people around the world are so fascinated with heritage, local memory and local history?
If the big museums in London are too predictable, you can take a different route: the small local history museums, that seem to exist in each London neighbourhood and where ordinary curating finds its home.

For example,
What can be more interesting than to see a micro museum about a big museum project - The Crystal Palace?

The Crystal Palace Museum

The Crystal Palace Museum tells the story of the Hyde Park and Sydenham Crystal Palaces using photographs and displays of original documents and ceramics.
The museum is located inside the only surviving building built by the Crystal Palace Company circa 1880.
Anerley Hill, Crystal Palace, London SE19 2BA
Tel: 020 8676 0700
OpenSat & Sun 11:00 - 3:30
Admission - FREE

joi, 17 mai 2018

Cambridge conference on the future of ethnographic museums

The SWICH conference derives from a project co-funded by the European Council: Exhibiting Culture, Exhibiting Empire, Exhibiting Europe.

Looking at the list of speakers,  one could see some of the 10 institutional partners: museums in Oxford (Pitt Rivers), Berlin, Leiden, Hamburg, Wellington (Te Papa Museum), Stockholm, Dublin, Rome, Marseille, Lubliana. Really curious about the outputs of this event.

This image from a shop in London (2008) represents my contribution to the topic. The future of ethnographic museums is to be found outside the ethnographic museums!

SWICH Summative Conference

King’s College, University of Cambridge

Wednesday 11 – Friday 13 July 2018


15:30 – 16:30 KEYNOTE 1:

 Sharon MacDonald,

 Alexander von Humboldt Professor, Institut für Europäische

 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

 Respondent: Claudia Augustat
16:30 – 18:00 PANEL 1: _NEW DIRECTIONS_

 Chair: Guido Gryseels, RMCA, Tervuren

 Panelist 1: Christian Schicklgruber, Weltmuseum, Vienna

 Panelist 2: Barbara Plankensteiner, Museum für Völkerkunde, Hamburg

 Panelist 3: Laura van Broekhoeven, Director, Pitt Rivers Museum

 Welcome from Nicholas Thomas


09:30 – 10:30 KEYNOTE 2:

 Arapata Hakiwai

 Kaihautū (Māori Co-leader), Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


10:30 – 11:00 Coffee

 Chair: Malavika Anderson (Wellcome Trust, London)

 Panelist 1: Rosa Anna Di Lella (Museo delle Civiltà, Rome)

 Panelist 2: Michael Barrett (Värdskulturmuseerna, Stockholm)

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:00 INTERVENTION 1: Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyen


 Chair: Mark Elliott (MAA, Cambridge)

 Panelist 1: Dean Sully (UCL, London)

 Panelist 2: Michel Lee (Värdskulturmuseerna, Stockholm)

 Panelist 3: Judith Finlay (National Museum of Ireland, Dublin)

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee
16:00 – 16:30 INTERVENTION 2: George Nuku

16:30 – 17:00 Discussion

19:00 – 21:00 Conference Dinner

09:30 – 10:30 PANEL 4:    GIVING IT BACK?


 Panelist 1: Wayne Modest (Research Center for Material Culture, Leiden)

 Panelist 2: Nicholas Thomas (MAA, Cambridge)

 Panelist 3: Ulrich Menter (Linden Museum, Stuttgart)

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee
11:00 – 12:30 PANEL 5:     _SWICH FUTURES_


 Panelist 1: Salvador Garcia Arnillas (Museu de Cultures del Mon,

 Panelist 2: Bojana Rogel Skafar (Slovenia Etno-Museum, Ljubljana)

 Panelist 3: Sandra Ferracuti (Lindenmuseum, Stuttgart)

 Panelist 4: Veerle Taekels (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren)

 Panelist 5: Mikael Mohammed (Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et
de la

 Méditerranée, Marseille)

 Michael Cooke (Arts Council England)

 Henrietta Lidchi (Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen, Leiden)

 Benoît de L’Estoile (CNRS, France)

13:00-14:00 Lunch

marți, 15 mai 2018

On line communities

A hub, an on-line museum of people, things, ides, events, with key workers in many parts of the world, all volunteers, bringing together material, information, news, content about the Japanese diaspora. the interesting thing is that the design of their web-site was changed from glamorous into more classic - to get in tune with their audience.

Jobs, residencies and internships for artists and curators

Are you an artist? Not sure. Me neither.
I  often think that anthropologists and ethnographers are so close to the field of art and rarely have the strength to step out of academia and see if they could have something to say/ work/ in this field.

I thought of putting together a list of websites where jobs, internships, residencies in the field of art could be taken. They are all in the UK. A friend of mine told me about all three of them.

I suppose all these sites might be a good hubs for all those who want to push forward their projects, gain some money from residencies, find about regulations (like data protection in the field of arts).

miercuri, 2 mai 2018

Ordinary Curating in Micro Museums

The Cornice Museum of Ornamental Plasterwork in Scotland

Have you wondered why sometimes visiting a small museum makes people feel nostalgic about the past? What is it so powerful and special about ordinary curating? How objects are exhibited, labelled, explained? How specific designs are associated to feelings?

An introduction into the world of micro-museums by Fiona Caitlin.

joi, 2 noiembrie 2017

refugee art art with and about refugees

Engaging with refugees and migrant experiences - Counterpoints arts.

I specifically found interesting the idea of creating art in a truck/ van - mobile exhibitions, see the work of Alketa Xhafa-Mripa - 'Refugees Welcome' at Tate Modern - and more...

miercuri, 21 iunie 2017

Things fall appart and other strange exhibitions at

the Chemical Heritage Foundation. 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. The museum is free and open Tuesday - Saturday (so, closed on Monday).

visit to the Museum at CHF is a journey through the weird and wonderful world of matter and materials.

marți, 20 iunie 2017

Liar's Poker: Representations of Politics, Politics of Representation by Brian Holmes

Liar\'s Poker
Representation of Politics/Politics of Representation
Brian Holmes

Basically, what I have to say here is simple: when people talk about politics in an artistic frame, they\'re lying. Indeed, the lies they tell are often painfully obvious, and worse is the moment when you realize that some will go forever unchallenged and take on, not the semblance of truth, but the reliability of convention. In a period like ours when the relationship to politics is one of the legitimating arguments for the very existence of public art, the tissue of lies that surrounds one when entering a museum can become so dense that it\'s like falling into an ancient cellar full of spider webs, and choking on them as you struggle to breathe. Now, the mere mention of this reality will make even my friends and allies in the artistic establishment rather nervous; but it is a reality nonetheless. And like most of the political realities in our democratic age, it has directly to do with the question of representation.

Picture Politics

Does anyone doubt there exists a politics of representation? Such people have clearly not looked at the television during a political campaign. But worse, they have not looked at social movements. They have not witnessed the endless capacity of people who do not occupy positions of elite power, and who do not enjoy direct access to major media, to project their messages nonetheless, by means of signs, images and gestures. Nor have they realized how effectively artists can work in such »outside« contexts: one need only think of Gran Fury, amidst the New York Aids activism of the eighties; of Ne Pas Plier, with the jobless people\'s movements in Paris in the nineties; or of the many artists who have participated in recent counter-globalization demonstrations and campaigns. Artists can play a vital role in this kind of »picture politics«.

At the same time, it is easy for artists to heed the injunction of the museum, the magazines and the market, which say: »Picture politics for me.« Do a picture or a sculpture of politics, carry out the representation of political conflict, as in the installation piece by Thomas Hirschhorn, Wirtschaftslandschaft Davos, shown at Kunsthaus Zürich when Hirschhorn won the prize for »Young Swiss Art« in 2001. This work uses model houses, toy soldiers, real barbed wire and other ready-made materials to represent the besieged Swiss valley where the world\'s most powerful people annually meet. Hirschhorn\'s style can be referenced to »dadaist collage«, observes one critic; but his major source is »the practice of excluded people who know perfectly well how to get their messages across, by using whatever they find.« [1] In this case the excluded people are those who confront the barbed wire at the World Economic Forum. And since counter-globalization has been a hot subject, representing them is a perfect way to become popular in a museum.

Hirschhorn goes further, though, because he turns a bit of ordinary life into a representation of politics, with his Bataille Monument in a Turkish quarter of Kassel. This life-sized library, snack bar and makeshift TV studio is a participatory project, whose effects in the neighborhood itself I won\'t presume to judge from a distance. What concerns me is the way he manages its relations to the artistic frame. On the »taxi stand« where visitors awaited to be ferried from the Documenta 11 to the site of the monument, Hirschhorn placed a quotation from the American artist, David Hammonds: »The art audience is the worst audience in the world. It\'s overly educated, it\'s conservative, it\'s out to criticize, not to understand and it never has any fun... So I refuse to deal with that audience, and I\'ll play with the street audience. That audience is much more human, and their opinion is from the heart. They don\'t have any reason to play games, there\'s nothing gained or lost.« Hirschhorn claims to have abandoned the framing structures of contemporary art, for a more authentically engaged social practice. But if that\'s the case, why the taxi, why the exposure of the site to visitors\' eyes, which turns the social project into a representation? What kind of game is he playing?

In his case there are certainly things to be won - like the prize for Young Swiss Art, or the Marcel Duchamp prize for the promotion of French artists, awarded to Hirschhorn by the ADIAF association in the year 2000. The Duchamp prize is sponsored by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a transnational consulting company, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Kunsthaus Zürich, where Wirtschaftslandschaft Davos was shown, is regularly funded by the Private Banking subsidiary of Crédit Suisse, which ranks 31st on Fortune\'s Global 500 list. Documenta 11 was sponsored by Volkswagen, Deutsche Telekom and Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. Does all this sound familiar? In the contemporary art game, the picture of excluded people\'s politics is worth a lot to the included - including transnational corporations. Of course I\'m aware that the prize commissions are independent, just like exhibition curators. Their independence supports the notion of an autonomous artistic sphere, separate from the economic nexus that sustains it. These kinds of separations, between abstract financial decisions and their substantive effects, are exactly what the protestors at the Davos meetings refuse. Hirschhorn retains an interest in the artistic frame he claims to leave behind. Yet he seems particularly uncomfortable there; and it\'s intriguing to see how he ups the symbolic stakes in the Davos piece, formulating a direct critique of transnational capitalism even as he is pursued and courted by the corporate-backed prize commissions.

How does picture politics work, when it is associated with a proper name and presented within the contemplative frame of the art institution? Invariably it produces statements like these: »I represent the people«, or »I represent a social movement«, or »I represent the excluded« - which are the classic lies of representative democracy, when it serves to conceal private interests. [2] Of course, this root fact makes myself, a self-styled »critic« writing in catalogues and magazines about the relations of art and politics, into one of the baldest liars of them all. And for some perverse reason I want to tell you how it\'s done.

Rules of the Game

Liar\'s poker is easy to play. The deck is composed of kings and aces. One person draws, and names the card in his hand; the other judges if he\'s telling the truth. If you draw an ace, it\'s easy: you have no choice but to say it\'s an ace. If you draw a king, then the game begins: because you can always bluff. Each time you claim to hold an ace, the other player must look in your eyes and decide if it\'s real. If he thinks it\'s not, he calls your bluff; and if he\'s right he wins a dollar, or ten, or a hundred, depending on how high you\'ve set the stakes. If he\'s wrong, you win the same. And if he doesn\'t do a thing, he loses fifty cents, or five bucks, or fifty dollars, and the card goes back into the pack, so that no one ever knows if you were telling the truth.

For our purposes, the artist draws the cards, and the public calls the bluffs. Nowadays, of course, the artist often plays as a team with the curator or the critic; so those relations are never entirely certain. As for the cards, the ace is political reality, and its image in the museum is highly attractive. This gives the artist a great advantage: because to prove an ace is a bluff, you have to go out looking, whereas the public prefers to stay inside the museum. The artist, however, also has a great disadvantage, which is that the house - I mean the people who run the game, the founders, the funders, the boards and directors - actually can\'t stand aces, and if they think the artist really has one, they will never let him or her set foot inside the museum. So in both cases the artist has to bluff his way through, either claiming political engagement to live like a king inside the white cube, or hiding it to siphon off money, resources and publicity for use by a social movement. Occasionally, when the lie is too grotesque, the public will call the bluff; and then the artist has to give up some cultural capital. Even more rarely, it turns out that the artist is really involved in a social movement, in which case he or she is soon fated to disappear from the museum.

Now there\'s an obvious question: Why would anyone want to play such a game? In fact the question can be asked about anyone playing by the unbearable rules that hold in almost every social field today. These are the rules of inequality, exploitation, domination - those nasty realities we have to lie about in polite democratic society.

For the entire article please follow the link:
Retrieved from: on 20th of June 2017

sâmbătă, 13 mai 2017

Visualising the Voices of Migrant Women Workers​
Visualising the Voices of Migrant Women Workers was an exhibition curated in Hong Kong, featuring materials collected from different parts of the world. The exhibition was based on collaboration between reserchers in University of Hong Kong, activists from different associations like Refugee Women and Voices of Migrant Women Workers Association, and migrant women workers themselves.

The footage presented on you-tube was aired on TVB Pearl HK. It intriduces the exhibition from minute 1.03 up to 5.50.

Research with similar associations working with migrant women workers in UK, HK, Canada (as discussed in the work of Geraldine Pratt, Deirdre McKay and other researchers writing about Filipina migrant workers) show similar interests in empowering migrant women workers. It seems a trend now  - in trying to make migrant workers learn how to become leaders, managers, make films and even exhibitions about themsleves...

marți, 2 mai 2017

A personal list of contemporary researchers doing and writing about exhibition making

Paul Basu
Exhibition Experiments

Horia Bernea and Irina Nicolau

Philippe Bourgeois

David Crowley

Craig Campbell

Jean Gabus - performance, journalism and exhibition making

Jacques Hainard

Inge Daniels

Julie Ham
The University of Hong Kong​


Kirshenblatt Gimblett

Sharon Macdonald

Irina Nicolau and Horia Bernea

Gabriela Nicolescu

Alexandra Schussler
Villa Sovietica

Emma Tarlo

Kevin Walker, Royal College of Art

marți, 21 martie 2017

Again about exhibiting Archives

As a reminder to myself, more than anything else: Christian Boltanski's installations of every day photographs (1968, 1988).

For a more detailed analysis of Boltanski's installations:

Image result for boltanski archives 1988