Another tough week just beginning. This weekend I travelled. This morning I cried. Over the last week, I have had much on my mind. Some of it, pointless. Other parts, vital.
I have been in a bit of a daze, not considering my place, because it was easier not to. There have been good moments, but somehow they also became lost in the grey blur of existence. I plan to change this.
My other current consideration is about our relationship to objects in the world and how we choose to protect them. At the moment, I am working often in a museum and as such am constantly seeing objects that for whatever reason have been deemed worthy. In placing them in a museum, we automatically ritualize them and cover them in swathes of social and cultural meaning. Have you ever considered how much we are changing history by placing these things together, in one building with its whitewashed walls? An ancient drinking cup, or coin, or stone lion were never meant to sit inside a perfectly protected, zoned building with regulated air conditioning. They were meant to live in the external world, in their contexts. A lion might guard a gate, not a vent. A cup might be slammed on the table with a coin and a demand for another drink. When we view these things in a musuem, we, or perhaps just I, have a tendency to worship them. I revere these objects, sometimes even without consciously reading the label. I trust that these objects are genuine artifacts simply by their presence in a glass case.
It makes me wonder - why do we attempt to shelter these things? For our heritage or culture? But our heritage is in our blood and in our skin; it is how we relate to each other and by what structures we guide and guard our lives.
Perhaps we shelter them for their monetary value? Then why do we protect the shoes and hair of Holocaust victims, or canvasses with splotches of paint that many associate with their six-year-old?
Or do we keep these things in a museum because of our natural love of organizing, our desire to establish the world under our codes and laws? I think this may be nearer the point. We are perpetually structuring and ordering our world around set points that we deem of value, without regard to the surroundings in which those objects are most beautiful. A gold pendant is most beautiful on the neck of someone who loves it; a piece of furniture is of greatest joy where it can be used; a statue is of most worth where it is regarded as beautiful or meaningful in our everyday lives - without the entrance fee.
Every placement we make, every piece removed from its location and set into a glass case surrounded by whitewashed walls is changed by our actions - the people of he future will see our changes and our placements, conceive their own value and regardless of the truth, extend and assume the history of that object further away from its truth.
In our everyday lives, do we try to remove what is beautiful and natural from its environment in order to serve our needs? I know I do. Is this always the right thing to do?