Accepted Paper:

(Post)industrial heritage as the content and the context of Warsaw museums  
Lukasz Bukowiecki (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

The capital city of Poland is full of paradoxes. One of them is that the industrial content is still present in some museums' exhibitions there, nevertheless Warsaw at first glance is not an industrial city any more.

Paper long abstract:

I would like to focus on selected museums' impact on experiencing of urban space in Warsaw in its physical, visual and social dimensions and look at the three-way relations between the museums, the city and the 'users of the city' (not only permanent inhabitants nor tourists) in the context of (lack of) management of (post)industrial heritage - the tangible one (exhibits, monuments, infrastructure) as well as the intangible one (human practices and beliefs). Old-fashioned displays in Museum of Technology located in the socrealistic skyscraper in the city centre and brand new interactive experimental devices in the Copernicus Science Centre (opened in 2010 on the Vistula riverbank) differ from each other not only due to the attitude to visitors but also by two distinctive visions of nature: in the Museum of Technology nature is presented mainly as the resource (to be used in the industry through technology), while in the Copernicus Science Centre nature becomes a mystery (to be discovered for the common good and sustainable development thanks to science and its dissemination). How does it reflect Warsaw infrastructure order? Among many other explanations I want to underline that on the most general level the coexistence of industrial and postindustrial imaginaries in perception of nature in two museums shows how competitive solutions could be simultaneously used to frame people’s activity – as it also happens in urban space, where some older developed systems are too big to be switched off but at the same time they are insufficient, unstable and supported by growing ‘doublers’.

Panel P060
The anthropology of infrastructure: ordering people, places, and imaginaries