Because I don’t have the Critical Theory background that is supporting a lot of the discussion here, I’m focusing on my own experiential knowledge:
Though we are dealing with databases of objects (Manovich), and hence the stories, memories and experiences with these objects that reflect cultural lives (Clifford), we also engage in the political debate that cultures are caught in (Brown).
Presentation of objects is not only tied to their ‘being’, it is tied very personally to an entire culture (and the whole world, depending on how we decide to discuss culture).
This discussion is prompting me to try and think about these topics in a more personal way:
How do I/we interact with people on their individually-sensitive topics while being sensitive ourselves?
How do I/we manage sensitivity in regards to ownership?
What happens when I/we find a point of contact, and begin to interact?
Is it even possible to make connections between simple person-to-person interaction and broad culturally and politically based interaction?
There is a form of dance called Contact Improvisation that explores the experience of taking personal risks to develop awareness of the transformational experience that takes place when practiced. Performed between 2 or more dancers, performers explore how to share the roles of leader and follower by communicating only through touch. Touch can be as simple as skin touching skin or more complex with weight bearing, jumping and tossing. Dancers learn how to manage, challenge and resolve conflict from both their own individual perspective and their partner’s, but the experience revolves around the interaction and communication that is happening in the moment, transforming both sides’ perspectives of the content at hand. However you have to have willing consent from both parties to engage in the risk that comes out of the contact. There have to be similar interests, goals and desires otherwise misunderstandings lead both parties to simply realize they can’t connect, and they search for other partners, or they realize the need to further understand each other better. But there is no risk taken by one partner when they decide they cannot work with the other – nothing material is lost. Only imagined interactions.
One last thought:
I have been thinking about the reflection on dialogue in both Museums and the making of Art.
The process of making art often reflects a desire to begin dialogue, to challenge and prompt discussion around ideas. While this practice is often viewed as exploring ways to take a risk, the perception of what the risk is differs between the individual practitioner’s process and the gallery’s interest in showing and supporting the product.
What I understand of museums through the readings, is that while they want to illustrate the dialogue that has happened (or is happening), there is more risk involved. This risk is largely based on reputation, funding and the audiences they wish to reach.
I’m becoming very interested in risk – both material and imaginary.