L’Internationale Talks

The Constituent Museum In Dialogue: A series of talks

The museum has the potential of becoming one of the most interesting spaces in which to experience different forms of participation. However, its structure also crystallises a large part of the cultural, material and political tensions of the present. This can be a consequence of the neoliberal governance of institutions – exemplified by people involved in museum patronage, along with the tyranny of ticket sales – and/or of political instability and new authoritarianism, as is particularly the case in Eastern Europe. The museum therefore holds great emancipatory possibility, but has been subjected to neoliberal normalisation, with its desire for continual growth, profitability and visibility on the one hand, and the political impostures of populism and historical revisionism, on the other. As institutions, we are in some aspects highly experimental, yet we tend to have very conventional governance. In certain instances, we face the challenge of remaining critical amid wider tendencies to ‘neutralise’ politically problematic contexts and content.

The Mediation working group consists of curators and educators from the museum members of the L'Internationale confederation. Through proposing a series of recorded discussions with people identified as our constituents or collaborators in solidarity, around the possibility of building a ‘constituent museum’, we imagine the constituent museum as one that facilitates, provokes and inspires; its visitors not passive receivers of predefined content but active members of a constituent body. We understand ‘constituents’ as individuals, groups or collectivities, who mobilise and challenge the museum and its logic.

This series of conversations discusses the emancipatory possibilities and limits of museums within the fortress of Europe: from the so-called refugee crisis to the paradigm of representation in art and its institutions; from ‘queering’ the museum to antifascist struggles; from radical pedagogies to processes of normalisation. Taking into consideration various experiences from outside the institution, while also learning from institutional practices from the 1990s, we hope to propose new ways in which to envisage a constituent museum of the future.

The Mediation working group consists of Piet Van Hecke (M HKA), Loes Janssen (Van Abbemuseum), Francisco Mateo Martínez Cabeza de Vaca (MNCARS), Pablo Martínez (MACBA), Marta Przybył, Marta Skowrońska-Markiewicz (MSN Warsaw), Onur Yıldız (SALT) and Adela Železnik (MG+MSUM).