Accepted Paper:

The Scattered Colonial Body in the Heart of Rome: Serendipity, Process and Contested  

Author:

Arnd Schneider (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses serendipity, process and relationality in a recent research and exhibition project (as part of TRACES www.tracesproject.eu /EU Horizon 2020) which investigated collections of the former African Colonial Museum now in storage in the Museo delle Civiltà), and other museums.

Paper long abstract:

This paper addresses serendipity, process and relationality in a recent research and exhibition project (as part of TRACES www.tracesproject.eu /EU Horizon 2020), where Arnd Schneider together with artist Leone Contini investigated collections of the former Italian Institute of Africa and the Orient / African Colonial Museum. These collections are now in storage in the National Museum of Ethnography L. Pigorini (Museo delle Civiltà), and other institutions in Rome - still inaccessible to the public; and equivalent to a 'Scattered Colonial Body'. Schneider & Contini's fieldwork also included interviews with former settlers of Libya (a former Italian colony), and the critical artistic representation of family memories and practices (e.g. food) against a more general background of amnesia around this period in Italian society. A central focus of the exhibition (in June /July 2017) were the facial plaster masks, executed during expeditions by Italian anthropologists to Libya, in the 1920s and 1930s, often with an agenda of scientific racism. In a series of performances, and installation devices these masks were critically examined, constructed and reconstructed in the exhibition, and like other elements of research and exhibition open up the discussion of this kind of contested, indeed neglected heritage and museum institutions in today's post-colonial context in Italy and beyond.

Panel P048
The Future of Anthropological Representation: Contemporary Art and/in the Ethnographic Museum