Accepted Paper:

Humboldt Lab Tanzania - Curating Research for Creative Practice through "ethnographic" objects  

Authors:

Lili Reyels (Associated via "Humboldt Lab Tanzania" with Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preu├čischer Kulturbesitz)
Sarita Lydia Mamseri
Paola Ivanov (Ethnologisches Museum Berlin)
Kristin Weber-Sinn (Ethnologisches Museum Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

The paper investigates best practices of artistic research from the perspectives of "Humboldt Lab Tanzania's" curatorial and artistic team. The focus being objects stored in Ethnologisches Museum (Berlin) violently obtained by German colonial authorities on the territory of modern-day Tanzania.

Paper long abstract:

Humboldt Lab Tanzania has been a multi-disciplinary Tanzanian-German project placing at its centre objects within the collections of the Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preu├čischer Kulturbesitz, that are connected with the wars waged by the German colonial authorities on the territory of modern-day Tanzania.

In this paper we investigate best practices and experiences, results, missed opportunities and challenges of the contemporary artistic research and artistic production within the process of Humboldt Lab Tanzania. In doing so, we take into account artistic, curatorial, historical, ethnographical, political and museological aspects which have been experienced during the project.

Navigating the visible and not so visible issues of contention regarding "ethnographic" objects through artistic research and practice was explored by four contemporary Tanzanian artists and the curatorial team of Humboldt Lab Tanzania. The highly problematic and on-going quasi-political and socio-historical issues and discussions of this project are up for discussion in this proposed paper - as is the reviewing and contextualizing of the travelling exhibition, Living Inside the Story in the Tanzanian-German context, which completed the artistic practice.

The information about the objects - generated from the colonial archives and the Ethnologisches Museum - had been placed at the disposal of the project. Therefore, these attributed provenances made from the colonial period were starting points for examining these object biographies and of bringing them into the present - thus undermining a purely colonial perspective and, it is argued here, to a certain extent helping to decentralise them via creative practice through "ethnographic" objects.

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