Resonant Exhibitions: When Interpretation is Artifact
Thank you Eric and Colin. I really liked your analysis of how exhibitions (or at least some elements) endure. At the same time, I think we all need to recognize a 6th category: ephemera. With rare exceptions, such as Pitt Rivers Museum and the Kunstkammer at the MAE in St. Petersburg, which probably have survived first from inertia and more recently from a desire to preserve a museological past, exhibitions as gesamtkunstwerks have inherent life spans. Some survive beyond their due date, but in the end the whole experience will disappear, with some fragments possibly having a further life as you have so well described. Eric, I totally subscribe to your closing sentiments that as exhibition designers we must put value and deep meaning into everything that we do, but not because our work might survive, but rather knowing that it likely won't, but that while it lives our efforts give meaning and joy and reflection, maybe inspiration, to others. Barbara Fahs Charles
Many thanks for your comment Barbara. I think Eric and I would both agree that the ephemeral, intransigent nature of exhibitions and museum experiences is central to what makes them special - they are built with a sense of impermanence that has important lessons for navigating uncertain futures.