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Lembcke, Sophie

BIGSAS Junior Fellow Sophie Lembcke

Current Project:

Digitalisierung und Future Archives. Posthybride Perspektiven auf künstlerische Objektbefragungen im kolonialen Museum

The 19th century saw the birth of ethnographic museums in Europe – impressive buildings in which a crucial link between colonized, othered cultures and white superiority was forged. Through the selection, display, and thus the reframing of works of art and artefacts of non-European provenance, an immaterial order of things was constructed, narrating notions of unilinear progress and modernity to a general public. With a particular focus on the relationship between exhibition display, the categories ‘art’/’artefact’, immaterial order, and white gaze, this study broadens our understanding of practices of purification, object lessons, and epistemological violence. Sophie Lembcke is interested in artistic research practices that critically engage with objects in ethnographic museums and shape their ongoing transformation. Instead of thinking about identities, theorists are arguing for a transcultural approach, transforming museums into democratic forums including diverse voices and positionalities. However, to counter colonial structures persisting in such postcolonial ethnographic museums, the research focuses on the remediation of objects by contemporary artists such as Nora Al-Badri/Jan Nikolai Nelles, Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, Morehshin Allahyari, and Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi/ Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum. Thinking-with their artistical propositions conceptualizes the future museum as a dividual aesthetic zone for exploring collapsing temporalities, sensuous knowledges and digital commoning as strategies for overcoming colonial object lessons and display strategies.


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