Narrating Identity by Means of Exhibition Techniques. Making Museum Visitors stumble upon the “Self” and the “Other”

Susanne Phillipps
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

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Ingår i: Current Issues in European Cultural Studies; June 15-17; Norrköping; Sweden 2011

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 62:27, s. 251-264

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Publicerad: 2011-11-22

ISBN: 978-91-7519-993-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper is based upon the research on the construction of identity; taking into account that identity is produced by internal processes as well as ascribed identity markers. It shows interesting possibilities exclusively hold by exhibitions to make these identity markers visible. The paper doesn’t centre on original objects but brings into focus models and installations; which are added to the objects; deliberately positioned between them. By breaking the usual look at the objects; identity markers are scrutinized; the difference between the “self” and the “other” blurs; and the “other” within the “own” culture can be recognized.

Examples are: the installation of the entrance sequence of Liberty Osaka; Osaka Human Rights Museum; a model of “How can we live together”; a special exhibition at Museum Neukölln; Berlin; the installation of “Gerüchte” / “Gossips”; a special exhibition at Museum für Kommunikation; Berlin; models of the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum; Yokohama.

These models and installations transform abstract ideas into concrete presentations for sensualised experiences and thus form a highly interpretive means of display. They visualize fields of ignorance; which usually are filled by stereotypes and prejudice; break self-evident judgements; and present surprising new combinations.


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(Last internet access: 03.07.2011)

Davis; Peter (2007: 53). “Place Exploration. Museums; Identity; Community“. In: Watson;Sheila (ed.). Museums and their Communities. London; New York: Routledge (Leicester Readers in Museum Studies). p. 53–75.

Museum für Kommunikation (2009). Gerücht. Didaktische Materialien für die Sekundarstufe I und II; http://www.mfk.ch/fileadmin/pdfs/Bildung_Vermittlung/Materialien/Ausstellungen/Gerue cht/Geruecht_DidaktischeMaterialien_final.pdf

Muttenthaler; Roswitha (2007); “Museum / Differenz / Vielfalt“ (Text from Schreib- und Denkwerkstatt Museologie; Drosendorf; 28.5.-3.6.2007); http://www.iff.ac.at/museologie/service/lesezone/Muttenthaler_Roswitha_Museum_Differenz _Alteritaet.pdf

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