The museums by themselves have different processes and meanings for the population and institutions. Through these classifications of museums, we can provide a more accurate linkage in between the object of study (or exhibited) and the audience.
Through contemporary cultural theory we can incorporate all sort of art practices into the everyday life. This will create our culture. So culture is becoming something less separatist in which art or culture itself no longer belongs to the educated or rich classes. The cultural theory is now being implemented more and more within museums, specially in social history and contemporary collections (Macdondald, 2011). Contemporary cultural theory seeks to utilize culture from a pluralistic perspective.
We inhabit a culture in the sense that we share a certain amount of knowledge and understanding about our environment with others.
We have evolved into a society that shares what Stuart Hall (1997: 18) in Macdonald (2011:18) defines “cultural maps” which makes us question or make judgements the value, status and legitimacy of products or cultural practices.
Within museums we are trying to materialize values and trying to give meaning to objects. For this reason museums within cultural theory are public spaces in which their values and the culture creation is always under debate.
Main theoretical apporach
In order to give meaning to something, we depend on a social construction of a signifying system that creates a shared understanding. The semiotic research of Ferdinand de Saussure, indicates that signifiers and signifieds relate arbitrarily. This means that perhaps the meaning or classification (curation) system to an object could be completely different from the perspective of a different culture.
When an artifact is being curated, this is attached or linked to an interpretation system that could be attached to a single cultural ‘string’. Taking the post-structuralist approach, we can provide a structure of interpretation that adapts to the cultural needs of the artifact or the audience. The attempt to materialize culture and present how an object can change through time, tends to fit to the vision of the post-structuralist thinking.
For this project this could be the way in which post-structuralism becomes the main way of presenting an object of study. A multi curated object presented from different cultural backgrounds and within different cultural audiences. Although the object can be presented with several meanings, “poststructuralist theory does not automatically imply that the material world ceases to exist” (Macdonald, 2011:21), but it will be understood from different perspectives or meanings.
Before photography, multimedia and all the new technologies, the object by itself was the way to present the culture or places which it came from. For this reason I think that the object presented should contain enough information to communicate or represent the specific qualities of a culture. When the object is unique it will be a challenge to transmit the embedded information to a replica that could be presented somewhere else. The use of modern manufacture technology and prototype making can assist with this process. But it will be the correct adaptation of the object and its environment what will be able to make the correct communication to the audience possible.
MACDONALD, S. 2011. A companion to museum studies, Malden, MA ; Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.
PEARCE, S. 2001. Interpreting Objects and Collections, Andover, Routledge, 2001.