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The Museum Today: Towards a Participatory and Emancipated Heterology.

"Above all, the museum is one of the places that offers the highest 
idea of man"
Andre Malraux, The Imaginary Museum (1965: 13)

Michel Foucault has deeply thought out the relationship of institutions with the structures of power. The military quarter, the school, the hospital, the prison are institutions that respond to a same logic of power organization and functioning. They were all designed in such a way as to have control over the bodies and life of the individuals who inhabit them, subject-individuals because subjected to the norms, rules and procedures imposed by these institutions.

Now, it is interesting to realize that, despite the critical and harsh Foucauldian idea of institution put forward in Discipline and Punish (1975), it is Foucault himself who, almost simultaneously, (1) finds the possibility to circumventing this same space of power with his concept of "other spaces" ("espaces autres"). Foucault is indeed a great thinker of space. In his systematic cataloguing of the architecture of the city, where he identifies the institutional spaces of the twofold power/knowledge, Foucault points out to other spaces that are not properly free (since they belong to the organization of the city) but constitute new ways of inhabiting and sharing the city. By distinguishing them from the utopias, as imaginary and unreal non-spaces, Foucault defines these "other spaces" as heterotopias:
Real places, effective places, places designed in the institution of 
society itself, and which are a kind of counter-places, a kind of 
utopias effectively realized in which the real places, all the other 
real places that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously 
represented, contested and inverted. A kind of places that are out of 
all places, despite being localizable (Foucault 1994: 755-6).

What I want to underline is that, for Foucault, the museum is one of those "other spaces". As he writes, "heterotopias of the time that it accumulates to infinity (...); museums and libraries are heterotopias in which time does not stop coming and landing on itself" (Foucault 1994: 757). I will show how this same ambiguity may be grasped in the very brief history of the idea of museum that I propose below.

Very Brief Notes on the History of the Museum

At the time of its invention in Ancient Greece, the museum begins as one of the institutions of knowledge: the place for classification of the world beings and for the organization of the world chaos. In this first moment, museum is above all an institution linked to the construction and transmission of scientific knowledge and, therefore, in close coordination with other cognitive institutions which are the "Republic of The Wise" and the "School" (Pombo 2006: 161-200). The most paradigmatic examples of this emerging figure of the museum are the Lyceum of Aristotle and Theophrastus, and the Museum of Alexandria. These magnificent institutions, both dedicated to teaching and research inspired by the muses, are determined by the "requirement of an exhaustive classification (...) such as book collections, zoological, botanical and mineral samples, letters, diagrams, paintings and all kinds of information gathered from fishermen, politicians, sailors, etc." (Pombo 2006: 165, translation added).

Later, with the re-invention of the museum in the Renaissance and in the Baroque beginnings of modernity, the museum is configured as a place of disposition and exhibition of objects of all kinds, from the most extravagant to the most erudite, from the most banal to the most exotic and rare. These sets of objects were then collected in cabinets of curiosity--first private and then progressively public--either by "collectors, amateurs and curious" (2) who decidedly aim to contribute for the large classificatory operation that is then in its commencement, or by aristocrats or rich bourgeois eager to give visibility to their authority or to their wealth.

It is however with the French Revolution that the museum fully acquires the status of symbolic representation of political power. From this moment on, science and art museums are going to diverge. (3) Science museums will follow the path of the disciplinary scientific advancements. Art museums will become the great allied of political power whose determinations it expresses and internalizes. In complete harmony with the academy of arts, the museum progressively acquires the authority that confers consecration to works of art and determines the recognition of artists. The most meaningful case is the Louvre, in Paris. First a royal palace, nine days after the fall of the monarchy in the 10th August 1792 it became a public museum intended to allow all citizens to share the previously private art collections and cultural values, now in the hands of the new revolutionary regime (see Schubert 2000: 17-18). (4)

It is also such monumental theatricality of power in its promiscuity with art and knowledge that is given to spectacle in the great universal exhibitions of the late nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century. The museum becomes an expression of triumphant capitalism, symbol of modernity and civilization but also a place of ostentatious power. According to Sloterdijk, "The gigantic Crystal Palace--the valid prophetic building form of the nineteenth century (which was immediately copied all over the world)--already anticipated an integral, experience-oriented, popular capitalism" (Sloterdijk 2013: 175, official translation). Along with this political and economic expressiveness, one witness the emergency of a new concept of museum as a gigantic public space, popular, intensely decorated, involving a dimension of entertainment, capable of attracting all kinds of audiences, oriented towards the vivid and experiential and, therefore, marked by a much greater proximity to the citizen.

However, it should be noted that, in the opposite direction to this "popular" tendency of the art museum as a symbolic power institution, it is also at the end of the 19th century that, in the field of arts, a scenario of resistance to the established power begins to be configured with the constitution of what is called "independent system". As Pierre Bourdieu stresses, Zola invented the figure of the "intellectual", that is, the figure affirming the independence of art and all the cultural sphere: "the intellectual, constituted as such, intervenes in the political field in the name of autonomy and of the specific values of a cultural production field that has achieved a high level of independence face to the powers" (Bourdieu 1992: 186, translation added). This is the moment where the first art galleries facing the Museum institution were open. The artistic schools emerged too, as an alternative to the centralized and standardized system of the Academy. In 1863, by command of Napoleon III, in order to calm the revolt of the artists who were refused by the Academic selection, the Salons des Refuses is open in clear opposition to the official and academic Salons de Paris. They stood as the alternative halls in which the great names of Impressionism presented their works. "The universe of artists ceases to function as a hierarchical device controlled as a body and, little by little, was constituted as a field of competition in the face of the monopoly of artistic legitimacy" (Bourdieu 1992: 191).

With the entrance in the twentieth century, and especially from the 1930s in the USA and 1950s in Europe, the art museum begins to perform new functions. In large part, the museum is shaken by the crisis of art face to visual culture and the global empire of image empowered by photography and cinema. Hence, the museum, once reserved for the exhibition of type standard specimens, prototypes, auratic originals, was forced to open its doors to the copy, to let itself be conquered by reproduction, in a word, to surrender to the civilization of image. An important symptom of this transformation was the construction of MoMa guided by two fundamental determinations. On the one hand, MoMa was invaded by image. Truly revolutionary in its concept, since the 1930s, the Museum thought out by Alfred Barr, further modern painting and sculpture, displayed "an unprecedented inclusion of photography, architecture, industrial design and cinema, covering the entire spectrum of contemporary visual culture" (Schubert 2000: 45). On the other hand, the new idea of a participatory art museum begins to be drawn. In Alfred Barr's own words, MoMA aspired to be "a laboratory where the public was invited to participate in the experiences" (Schubert 2000: 45). This participatory dimension of the museum will be reinforced by its increasing openness and permeability to the general public that comes in large number to frequent its rooms (5). The museum does no longer present collections filtered by its own institutional authority, in the context of a somehow paternalistic conception face to a less prepared audience, but, on the contrary, it seeks now to accept and implement the criteria, the tastes, the appetites, the wishes of the public itself. In a word, what the museum loses in authority wins in democraticity. This participatory tendency was shared by many museums all over the world. That is the case of the Pompidou Center whose innovative character embraced emergent artists and new publics. "Like MoMa, the Pompidou Center surrendered to revolutionary goals and established itself by serving a growing and diversified audience" (Schubert 2000: 61).

Significantly, art market in the 1970s was marked by a clear split between, on the one hand, the financial system that supports the "great" museums and its "major" artists, and, on the other hand, artistic movements which struggle and resist to the economic and speculative exploitation of art. Through a radical art and a "dirty aesthetics", emerging artistic movements declared themselves against the established art. Examples include the libertarian movement Fluxus, which has affirmed itself as anti-art, contrary to the reduction of the artwork to a trade entity; the Land Art which, being directly made on the ground, cannot be exposed in any museum; or the Arte Povera, artisanal art that, by the use of simple, natural, non-noble materials, never before acceptable by the museum, intends to annulling the difference between art end everyday life or between nature and culture. The dialogue between the most creative and experimental art movement and the museums was broken. Even MoMa, which was open, since its foundation, to the most contemporary art movements, lost, in the 1950's, the will for meeting the most irreverent art scene of New York. (6)

The Museum Crisis

In general, this transformation of the museum is thought out as a crisis: the contemporary crisis of the museum. And this designation is intended to mark, either the loss of museum's authority and its consequent withdrawal from the most experimental artistic movements, or its submission to the criteria of the wider public and the economic power that underlies massification of taste (advertising, mass media). In fact, never the economy took over the museum so much. What one has today is a tearing scenario: from one hand, museums that seek to maintain the same criteria of excellence and taste that have always characterized them and which, for this reason, see themselves empty and at the border of ruin; on the other hand, large public museums, with highly successful exhibitions, which do not mind exposing plastic dinosaurs to attract entire families on rainy days. Never have this kind of museums had so many visitors. "Nearly 5.7 million people visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011, the highest number in 40 years and higher in 400.000 visitors to the previous year" (Jurgens 2012: 86). Never have museums moved so much money and had so much projection in terms of blockbuster productions and exhibitions to the general public.

However, if one witnesses such a strong financial bet on the "big" museums and exhibitions of "great" artists recognized and promoted by the neoliberal system, never the financial support (both public and private) has been so reduced in what regards "smaller" museums, which prefer to expose "alternative", emerging artists, as well as museums and cultural spaces outside the capital. Given the severe budget cuts in culture, many of these museums are at risk of closing. This contradiction forced the museums to adopt commercial strategies in order to attract new audiences (marketing, cultural tourism, etc.). The opening of museum branches at airports and shopping centres (e.g. the Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport) are paradigmatic examples. This will of the museum to meeting the needs of mass civilization, may be seen, for example, in extending the opening hours to a night regime, in selling the already customary pass that allows entry into several museums; in the invention of educational services, or in the rehabilitation of abandoned urban spaces (as the case of the industrial space where the Tate Modern was made, as well as the Hamburguer Banhof train station or the Matadero, the former slaughterhouse of Madrid). Now, it is worth asking: What is the meaning of this transformation? How can the museum be redefined today? How can the museum be a place of resistance to the imperatives of market? How to resist capitalism through art and museum?

Museum Strategies for Overcoming the Crisis

I believe that, more than resigning to the condition of an institution in crisis, the museum may stand on the side of resistance, as a collective device, allied and giving strength to small artistic movements, contributing to the emancipation of the spectator and to the formation of a new community of equals. This means that the museum could take over the paradoxes of its current situation in a constructive and positive way, by affirming itself as a heterotopic place, and by letting itself be crossed by the multiplicity of voices that visit it. This hypothesis is based on the Rancierian thesis according to which:
The politics of art cannot therefore solve its paradoxes in the form of 
an intervention outside their own places, in the 'real world'. There is 
no real world outside of art. What exists are folds and doublings of 
the common sensitive tissue where the politics of aesthetics and the 
aesthetics of politics join and disjoin. (...) The real is always the 
object of a fiction, that is to say of a construction of the space 
where the visible, the expressible and the feasible intertwine 
(Ranciere 2008: 83, our emphasis).

My proposal involves thinking about the museum as that "fiction" where the collective voices of enunciation and action may be heard. Maintaining its status of institutional place for representation and knowledge, the museum could also be the place of presentation, experimentation, affirmation of its own contingency as a space of collective knowledge, that is, of a knowledge produced in the action of the emancipated spectator. Only so, and following Ranciere once again, could the museum be, in fact, a democratic place, since democracy is "the power of those who no longer have a title either to govern or to being governed (...). The scandal of democracy... is to reveal that this title can only be the absence of title, that the government of societies cannot ultimately rest but in its own contingency" (Ranciere 2005: 54). Basically, my proposal is about finding new existing museological forms and trying to identify and intensify them. In fact, the crisis and the restructuring of the museum have always been accompanied by the constitution of lines of escape and resistance, that is, knowledge devices based on understanding art as a place of knowledge. And that is true at the level of the spectator, the curator and the museum itself.

Today, it is indeed possible to identify a new way of inhabiting museums. The experience and involvement of the spectator is now tendentiously personalized. The cultured and demanding visitor also became an emancipated, active visitor. He/she is endowed with the status of an independent producer of meaning whose committed participation, interests, and opinions are recognized and taken into account by both the curators and the institution. Much more than a passive, inactive receptacle of the curatorial proposals that are extrinsically suggested to him/her, the visitor increasingly participates in the construction of the very meaning of the exhibition. This is true mainly in art museums. However, it has been extended to science museums which tend to meet the visitors' interests and tastes, inviting them to participate in a series of available activities. The trend is all over: the museum shows/sells what the visitor/consumer desires to see. (7)

In the context of curatorial activity too, the emergence of democratic mechanisms is today also very significant. These curatorial mechanisms which take the spectator as co-curator of diverse activities and events are being put in practice by numerous art museums. (8) Other solutions increasingly adopted by museums go towards the constitution of the visitors as partners in the economic effort that museums have to develop in dealing with the lack of funding, namely in crowdsourcing exhibitions. There are many examples of cross-cutting and interdisciplinary initiatives aimed at establishing bridges between the museum, the civil society, the university and the artistic community. This is the case of promoting free courses, seminars, conferences in partnership with universities as well as the organization of artistic residencies. This is also the case of the creation of museums' network, such as the Island of Museums in Berlin, or, more radically, the European museum network l'Internationale that proposes a horizontal, non-hierarchical and decentralised model of artistic internationalism and exchange among cultural agents, promoting a more direct relationship between institutions and civil society. (9)

One is therefore facing a set of very diverse initiatives by which the museum aims at giving voice to the community. As I will show next, these initiatives suppose the emancipation of the spectator and the affirmation of the artist as producer of installations and works in situ, as well as the experimental and participatory curatorship.

For a Museum to Come

The classical exhibition is directed at each of the visitors as singular, isolated, lonely subject. It offers each one the possibility of confronting oneself individually with the objects exposed thus opening up to personal aesthetic contemplation. But the contemporary art installations create a diverse form of reception: the visitor is not alone anymore but has now the opportunity to experiment his/her own collective dimension. As Groys says:
Moving from one object to another, such an individual visitor 
necessarily overlooks the totality of the exhibition's space, including 
his or her own position within it. An artistic installation, on the 
contrary, builds a community of spectators precisely because of the 
holistic, unifying character of the installation space. The true 
visitor to the art installation is not an isolated individual, but a 
collective of visitors (Groys 2010: 61).

The eminently political character of art is here in evidence. However, as Rantiere warns, it is necessary not to fall into the demagogy of a certain politics of art. It is necessary to leave the vicious circle between what Rantiere designates as "pedagogy of representative mediation" (or the representative regime) and the "pedagogy of ethical immediacy" (or the ethical regime) (10). Art is political, yes, but not because it has a paternalistic role, either in teaching and transmitting values (ethics), or in unveiling the horror of the world (representation). As Ranciere denounces:
Art is supposed to be political because it shows the stigmas of 
domination, or because it puts the reigning icons into erosion, or 
because it leaves its own places to become a social practice, and so 
on. After a century of supposed criticism of the mimetic tradition, it 
is clear that this tradition is still dominant even in the forms that 
want to be artistically and politically subversive. It is assumed that 
art makes us revolted by showing us revolting things, that it mobilizes 
us by moving out of the artist's studio or the museum and that it 
transforms us into opponents of the dominant system by denying itself 
as an element of this system (Ranciere 2008: 57).

On the contrary, art is political when it opposes the idea that the enlightened and emancipated subjects can indicate the pathway of liberation for the oppressed. Art is political when it is based on the principle that any individual can compose the field of the "distribution of the sensible", by reconfiguring it, by reinventing it, by introducing in it a new fiction and new set of possibilities. As Ranciere explains:
Art and politics are linked together as forms of dissent, as operations 
to reconfiguration of the common experience of the sensible. There is 
thus a politics of art that precedes the politics of artists, a 
politics of art as a singular division of the objects of common 
experience, which operates by itself regardless of the desires that 
artists may have to serve this or that cause (Ranciere 2008: 70-71).

Social emancipation itself led to aesthetic emancipation because the working class produced a rupture in the way of feeling and thinking. The workers themselves, in their emancipated condition, broke the hierarchy that reduced them to the figure of a-theoretical, a-intellectual, a-artistic people. Against the vertical and causal logic in which one class of individuals explains and governs the other as if respecting a logic of difference between surface and subsoil, Ranciere proposes a horizontal, rhizomatic model, according to a principle of indifference between the subjects. A principle according to which anyone can reconfigure, at any time, the distribution of the sensible regime, thus establishing a dissident and controversial "other space". In Ranciere's words, "workers do not oppose practice to utopia; they conferred upon the latter the characteristic of being 'unreal', of being a montage of words and images appropriate for reconfiguring the territory of the visible, the thinkable, and the possible. The 'fictions' of art and politics are therefore heterotopias rather than utopias" (Ranciere 2000: 65).

Once again, Foucault's concept of heterotopia echoes here. For Ranciere, politics is the invention of a neutral space-time. It is the result of a dissensus, of a rupture with the prevailing and dominant system:
If the aesthetic experience touches upon politics, it is because it is 
also defined as an experience of dissension, opposed to the mimetic or 
ethical adaptation of artistic productions for social purposes. 
Artistic productions lose their functionality there, they leave the 
network of connections which gave them a destination by anticipating 
their effects; they are offered in a neutralized space-time, also 
offered to a gaze which is separate from any defined sensorimotor 
extension (Ranciere 2008: 67).

Emancipation is the emergence of a form of existence separated from the dominant space-time. It is the emergence of an other-space-time, a new regime of making, of visibility, of perception of the multiple voices hitherto inaudible, anonymous. Emancipation is an action that involves the breaking, the dismantling and the collapse of the dominant enunciation regime in order to bring up, from it, new regimes of discourse, of visibility and of possible achievements.
[Emancipation] begins when we challenge the opposition between viewing 
and acting; when we understand that the self-evidence facts that 
structure the relations between saying, seeing and doing themselves 
belong to the structure of domination and subjection. It begins when we 
understand that viewing is also an action that confirms or transforms 
this distribution of positions. The spectator also acts, like the pupil 
or scholar (Ranciere 2008: 19).

What is interesting to emphasize is that, for Ranciere, not only emancipation is the affirmation of heterotopia, but this heterotopic neutral space is the museum. As he writes in The Emancipated Spectator (2008):
What forms a revolutionary working body is not the revolutionary 
painting, whether revolutionary in the sense of David or that of 
Delacroix's. It is rather the possibility that these works can be seen 
in the neutral space of the museum, in reproductions of cheap 
encyclopedias, where they are equivalent to those which yesterday told 
the power of kings, the glory of ancient cities or the mysteries of 
faith (Ranciere 2008: 69).

Now, I think it is possible to combine Rantiere's theses on the spectator with Groys's point of view on the installation and, from this conjugation, to affirm that the installation is the place par excellence of the emancipation of the spectator. As Groys writes:
The artist who designs a certain installation space is an outsider to 
this space. He or she is heterotopic to this space. But the outsider is 
not necessarily somebody who has to be included in order to be 
empowered. There is also empowerment by exclusion, and especially by 
self-exclusion. The outsider can be powerful precisely because he or 
she is not controlled by society (Groys 2010: 68).

According to Groys, the installation space let us perceive a controversial dimension of democracy: a place where the artist is both sovereign and excluded. Artist's freedom comes, precisely, because the artist has the power of self-exclusion, because he/she can create a heterotopic place, under his/her own rules. The artist then becomes an independent power from institutionalized power. In fact, as he states:
The installation space is where we are immediately confronted with the 
ambiguous character of the contemporary notion of freedom that 
functions in our democracies as a tension between sovereign and 
institutional freedom. The artistic installation is thus a space of 
unconcealment (in the Heideggerian sense) of the heterotopic, sovereign 
power (Groys 2010: 69).

What Groys underlines is precisely the fact that, in an installation, that is, in the exhibition of the artist's private space within the public space, the spectator is confronted with his/her own character of a dislocated. The spectator is him/herself heterotopic:
The space of an artistic installation is the symbolic private property 
of the artist. By entering this space, the visitor leaves the public 
territory of democratic legitimacy and enters the space of sovereign, 
authoritarian control. The visitor is here, so to speak, in foreign 
ground, in exile. The visitor becomes an expatriate who must submit to 
a foreign law--one given to him or her by the artist (Groys 2010: 59).

Heterotopia is here thought out in its most radical form: as a forced exile of the spectator. And democracy is exposed as a common space caused by the artist. Democracy rises as the emergence of a private ethos within a public topos. Democracy is the public space made private of the artist who is seen, in the installation, by the public eye. Democracy is thus born in the artistic gesture of installing an "other space" in the common space. In the words of Groys:
The author of an artistic installation is also such a legislator, who 
gives to the community of visitors the space to constitute itself and 
defines the rules to which this community must submit, but does so 
without belonging to this community, remaining outside it. And this 
remains true even if the artist decides to join the community that he 
or her has created (Groys 2010: 60).

Also, for Ranciere, politics is made in the construction of a "other space" within the community and it is by the affirmation of this point of dissensus that art is political.
The effectiveness of art does not consist in transmitting messages, in 
giving models or counter-models of behaviour or in learning to decipher 
representations. It consists first of all in the displaying of bodies, 
in the cutting of singular spaces and times which define ways of being 
together or separated, in front of or in the middle of, inside or 
outside, close or distant (Ranciere 2008: 61).

Final Note
"The politics of emancipation is the politics of the self as an other.
The logic of emancipation is a heterology"
Jacques Ranciere, On the Shores of Politics (1998: 85)

Foucault, as seen above, had the clairvoyance of pointing out to the existence of "other spaces" of power. Spaces that, however, were still co-extensive to the power because somehow, they preserved it, they saved it from its ruin. On the contrary, what I want to defend is that the museum can affirm itself today as a communitarian, a participatory and an assertive heterotopy. In other words, the museum can be constituted as an expression, not of power and its tricks, but as an enunciation device of the strength belonging to emancipated citizens. In view of the multiple utopias which exist in their condition of mere possibles that act virtually in the real, the museum is a space with a local, unique, actual topos which, by its nature, can be a force of resistance to the prevailing power. As a heterotopic device, endowed with its own space-time, the museum can be an "other space" of public freedom, that is, a space of distributing new regimes of visibility and sensitivity. As Ranciere says:
It is because the museum--understood not as a simple building, but as a 
form of division of the common space and specific mode of 
visibility--is constituted around the disused statue that, later, it 
will be able to accommodate any other form of disused object from the 
profane world. This is also why the museum can, in our days, 
accommodate modes of information circulation and forms of political 
discussion which try to be opposed to the dominant modes of information 
and to the discussion about common affairs (Ranciere 2008: 65).

The artist can also function as a revolutionary trigger. In his/her uniqueness, in his/her occupation of space, the artist goes beyond his/her condition as a singular, private individual. More than a personal signature, the artist is the one whose production is a collective enunciation. His/her work points to the creation of a community to come.

It is time to give the floor to Deleuze and Guattari. In their last work, What is Philosophy? (1991), they thought art as the composition of affects and percepts that are beyond any and every subjective sphere and that belong to the collective dimension, calling to the constitution of a people to come (11). The art's plan of composition can therefore be designated as the constitution of a people. Like art, the revolution is also the creation of a composite of actual events that, due to their consistency, assert themselves as a monument. With Deleuze and Guattari, one understands better what art is by reading what they write about the revolution and its immanent strength as a monument:
The success of a revolution resides only in itself, precisely in the 
vibrations, clinches, and openings it gave to men at the moment of its 
making and that composes in itself a monument that is always in the 
process of becoming, like those tumuli to which each new traveller adds 
a stone. The victory of a revolution is immanent and consists in the 
new bonds it installs between people, even if these bonds last no 
longer than the revolution's fused material and quickly give way to 
division and betrayal (Deleuze, Guattari 1991: 167).

Such as the revolution, the success of art lies in the sensations that the artist has managed to make expressive. Sensations which, even if they do not last longer than their matter, they will always and forever function as a fusion between individuals, as the creation of a monument-event, as a universal compound in permanent becoming.

Heterotopia as dissensus happens in the new common and unfilled discursive space of the oppressed. That is where politics really is done. Quoting once again Ranciere when, in his master work on emancipation, he speaks about the production of the heterotopic dissensus of emancipation: "This is the meaning of the paradox of the ignorant master: the student learns from the master something that the master himself does not know. He learns it as an effect of the mastery which forces him to seek and he verifies this research. But he does not learn the knowledge of the master" (Ranciere 2008: 20).

The museum can be this place of collective discursive and expressive practices of an ignorant master. And, since politics is a form of fiction, one could thus say that the emancipated spectator can enter in a becoming-muse of the museum!

Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

(This work is financed by national funds through FCT--Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia, I.P., within the scope of the I&D Unity of the Centro de Filosofia das Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa (CFCUL), Project with the Reference FCT I.P.: UIDB/00678/2020 and UIDP/00678/2020 and of the Transitory Norm--DL 57/2016/CP 1479/CT 0063.)


(1) I refer to the text written in 1967--"Des Espaces Autres" ("Of other spaces")--whose publication Foucault only authorized in 1984, in the magazine "Architecture/Mouvement/Continuite" and which, subsequently, in 1994, came to be included in the volume IV of Dits et Ecrits (Writings).

(2) This is precisely the title of Krzysztof Pomian's classic work (1987) Collectioneurs, Amateurs et Curieux. Paris, Venice: 16th-18th century.

(3) In what concerns science museums, the amateurs and curious will be slowly substituted by the naturalists, botanists, zoologists or geologists whose aim is not to reunite exotic objects and beings anymore, but to give reason of the infinite variety of species (See Pomian 1987: 249-252).

(4) This was not the case of the British Museum, founded in 1759, which was above all an exhibition space for collection of books and manuscripts. Indeed, in the British Museum "there was initially no clear separation between the library and the departments of natural history and archaeology, everything was managed by a librarian and two assistants" (Schubert 2000: 17).

(5) As Karsten Schubert writes, "three developments have finally brought massive changes to museums across Europe. Post-war reconstruction and economic recovery were effectively completed in the West in the early 1970s [...]. For the first time, there was money for neglected museums. The second factor was the emergence of mass tourism and the corresponding leisure culture of the 1970s [...]. More than the availability of funding and the advent of mass tourism, it was the cultural changes of the 1960s that culminated in the events of 1968 that affected so deeply the fate of the museum" (Schubert 2000: 56-58).

(6) As Elena Volpato says, "the conviction of artists that it was in no way possible for institutional machines such as MoMA to represent contemporary experimentation, or, in the interests of their trustees, to have nothing in common with the ideas and beliefs of the movement of American and international art" (Volpato 2010: accessed 10th August 2020).

(7) As Rodney signalizes, "this situation is (partly) provoked by the evolution of consumerism and by a revolution in marketing: visitors (as consumers) and museum (as a merchant) co-create the meaning to be lived during the visit" (Rodney 2016: accessed 3 March 2019).

(8) "The Museum Stedelijk from March to September 2014, presented drawings made collaboratively by visitors during their stay in the museum. In August 2014, the Frye Museum of Seattle launched #SocialMedium, an exhibition consisting entirely of selections made by visitors using social media (...). The Portland Museum of Art was involved in a similar project in 2014 entitled #captureParklandia which was composed of photographs tagged, taken with electronic devices, from Portland city parks, transmitted via Instagram to the museum's website dedicated to the project. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts used a popular vote to select the paintings to be included in an exhibition entitled "Boston Loves Impressionism". In the United Kingdom, similar projects were carried out at the London Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Pavillion and Museums of Brighton and Hove" (Rodney 2016: accessed 3 March 2019).

(9) See

(10) See Ranciere 2008: 58-62.

(11) For a more detailed analysis of this major thesis of Deleuze and Guattari, see Pombo Nabais 2020: especially 341-353.

Works Cited

Bourdieu, Pierre. Les Regles de l'Art. Genese et Structure du Champ Litteraire (The Rules of Art. Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field'). Paris, Seuil, 1992.

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. Qu'est-ce que la Philosophie? (What is Philosophy?). Paris, Minuit, 1991.

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Author:Nabais, Catarina Pombo
Publication:Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Mar 19, 2021
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