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Accepted Paper:

Bricolage in the ethnographic archive  
Alyssa Grossman (University of Liverpool)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores bricolage as an innovative approach to working with post-colonial ethnographic archives. Revisiting the historical intersections between surrealism and anthropology, I discuss a project that builds on the notion of bricolage to provoke new interpretations of museum collections.

Paper long abstract:

The contents of ethnographic archives often remain packed away in storage, inaccessible and unknown to the general public. How might some of these artifacts and documents be retrieved and engaged with, not only to challenge existing interpretations of their post-colonial legacies and present-day significance, but also to elicit new understandings of their material presence? This paper revisits the strategies and practices of bricolage (Levi-Strauss 1962) to explore possibilities for working critically and creatively with part of the ethnographic collection at the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, Sweden. Returning to the largely forgotten historical intersections between the surrealist movement and the discipline of anthropology, I will discuss a current artistic-anthropological collaboration and exhibition intervention that utilizes methods of collage and the 'cut-up' to produce an alternative, parallel archive of objects, images, and narratives. This project aims to provoke meaningful dialogues about the place of art and artists within anthropological and other scientific contexts. It also seeks to generate innovative and radical ways of reflecting upon and working with colonial archival materials and the contemporary communities connected to existing ethnographic collections.

Panel P098
[Re:]engagements: the ethnographic archive and its contemporary and future affordances
  Session 1