WEITWINKEL – Global Perspectives on Collections

WEITWINKEL – Global Perspectives on Collections is an interdisciplinary series of events dealing with transcultural topics and socially relevant issues on the basis of current exhibitions, research projects and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s collaborative projects.

In anticipation of the opening of the Humboldt Forum vis-à-vis the Museumsinsel, concepts are also being developed to build a bridge to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin collections at the Humboldt Forum. The following questions, among others, form the focus of this endeavour:

  • How did the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin collections come about and what significance do they have currently in a global context?
  • How are acquisitions from the colonial period dealt with?
  • Which cross-cultural connections and narratives do the objects harbour?
  • Which tasks do museums presently face and which new concepts are available for that undertaking?
  • To what extent do diversity and inclusion represent a particular challenge and at the same time an opportunity for museums?

Colleagues from the individual collections and international speakers will discuss these questions with the audiences in lectures, panel discussions and workshop reports. Collaborations with representatives from the societies of origin is of particular importance here.

Planned Events

Exhibition interventions

Perpetual calendar, Allgäu, c. 1579, detail
Perpetual calendar, Allgäu, c. 1579, detail © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Ute Franz-Scarciglia

Objects on the Move: From the Kunstkammer into the Museum

Bead Apron for Women, Pemón (Taurepan), Border region of Brazil and Venezuela, c. 1910
Bead Apron for Women, Pemón (Taurepan), Border region of Brazil and Venezuela, c. 1910 © Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Ethnologisches Museum / Martin Franken

Trading with beads. Knowledge, Worlds, Values

Previous events

A Podium Discussion with Manuela Fischer, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Claudia Augustat, (Weltmuseum Wien), Wednesday, 1 December 2021, 2 pm to 3 pm

The history of the Museu Nacional in Rio reflects the changing representation of the Brazilian Empire, where the display in the museum can be considered a “performance of an image of the nation-state” (Andermann 2003:285). The changing approaches within the 19th and early 20th century are not only national issues but are closely related to transnational relationships. The three contributions in this talk will focus on different aspects of the relationships between museums.

  • João Pacheco de Oliveira will give an overview of the history of the Museu Nacional and the perspective for the future after the destruction of the collections in Rio.
  • The discussions about the colonial gaze, inherent in all ethnographic collections hosted in European museums, get a new perspective in a globalized world. The relatedness of the institutions in Europe and Brazil can now be seen in a different light, as Manuela Fischer tries to show.
  • Insofar as not all collections in European museums are the result of asymmetric relationships. Based on examples from the Weltmuseum in Vienna, Claudia Augustat, fuels the discussion about “decolonizing” collections showing the broad range of relationships in which acquisitions took place. 

João Pacheco de Oliveira, Full Professor, National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Manuela Fischer, Curator of the South America Collections,  Ethnological Museum, Berlin, Germany
Claudia Augustat, Curator for South American Collections, Weltmuseum Wien, Austria

A Podium Discussion with Manuela Fischer, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Claudia Augustat, (Weltmuseum Wien), Wednesday, 1 December 2021, 2 pm to 3 pm

The history of the Museu Nacional in Rio reflects the changing representation of the Brazilian Empire, where the display in the museum can be considered a “performance of an image of the nation-state” (Andermann 2003:285). The changing approaches within the 19th and early 20th century are not only national issues but are closely related to transnational relationships. The three contributions in this talk will focus on different aspects of the relationships between museums.

  • João Pacheco de Oliveira will give an overview of the history of the Museu Nacional and the perspective for the future after the destruction of the collections in Rio.
  • The discussions about the colonial gaze, inherent in all ethnographic collections hosted in European museums, get a new perspective in a globalized world. The relatedness of the institutions in Europe and Brazil can now be seen in a different light, as Manuela Fischer tries to show.
  • Insofar as not all collections in European museums are the result of asymmetric relationships. Based on examples from the Weltmuseum in Vienna, Claudia Augustat, fuels the discussion about “decolonizing” collections showing the broad range of relationships in which acquisitions took place. 

João Pacheco de Oliveira, Full Professor, National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Manuela Fischer, Curator of the South America Collections,  Ethnological Museum, Berlin, Germany
Claudia Augustat, Curator for South American Collections, Weltmuseum Wien, Austria

A Digital Talk with Prof. Dr. Stefan Weber, Director, Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin, Khadim Ali, Artist,Thursday, 9 September 2021, 1 – 2.15 PM (Berlin time)

Khadim Ali (b. 1978, Quetta, Pakistan) belongs to the Hazara tribe from Afghanistan. Ali had an artist studio in Kabul Afghanistan from 2005 until 15 August 2021 when it was disbanded to protect the lives of the artists and artisans who have been his long term collaborators. The studio was a hub for the renewed artistic revival that was surging through Afghanistan, a place of research that facilitated exchange and sharing of traditional arts and craft with students, scholars and community groups. From this base Khadim also taught and engaged with key organisations and institutions throughout Afghanistan to support and steward the resurgence of traditional artisanal crafts.

The conversation between Khadim Ali and Stefan Weber offers a platform to hear first-hand about the current political turmoil in Kabul. The talk unveils the consequences to the arts sector and discuss the social role of museums today.

Reading with Anne Weber on Saturday, 28 August 2021, 11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. at the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg

The Concept of Your Interpretation – Challenging the Colonial Archive through Art and Research/ Werkstattbericht aus dem Namibia-Forschungsprojekt am Ethnologischen Museum
The Concept of Your Interpretation – Challenging the Colonial Archive through Art and Research/ Werkstattbericht aus dem Namibia-Forschungsprojekt am Ethnologischen Museum © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Panel discussion on 10 December 2019 in English with Cynthia Schimming, Museums Association of Namibia and Julia Binter, Ethnologisches Museum – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

  • What stories can colonial collections tell?
  • What visions of the future can be developed with them?

 

Museen und die Islamdebatte – wie politisch sind Kulturinstitutionen?
Museen und die Islamdebatte – wie politisch sind Kulturinstitutionen? © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Panel discussion on 23 November 2019 in English with Massumeh Farhad, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, Lamya Kaddor, University of Duisburg-Essen, Yannick Lintz, Louvre Museum, Paris and Stefan Weber, Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin

Moderation: Reinhard Fischer, Berlin State Agency for Civic Education
Music: Duo Safar