Acclaimed critic, curator and museum director Clémentine Deliss explores possible functions for anthropological museums in a postcolonial culture
Anthropological museums in Europe, as products of imperialism, have been compelled to legitimate themselves for some while now. The very basis of their exhibitions, the history of their collections, which came about all too often through colonial appropriation and outright theft, is now widely contended.
In this brilliant intervention in this often irresolvable-seeming conversation, the London-born curator, researcher, publisher and director of the Frankfurt Weltkulturen Museum Clémentine Deliss (born 1960) offers an intriguing mix of autobiographically informed fiction and scientific argument to address the topic and explore the possible future role of anthropological museums in culture.
Deliss conjoins reflections about her own work as the director of the Frankfurt Weltkulturen Museum with discussions of filmmakers, artists and authors to argue for an entity she calls the Metabolic Museum—an interventionist laboratory that opens up the potential of anthropological collections for the future.