Friday, March 20, 2009

Street as Museum - Wien Museum

Today I attended an extremely interesting conference titled: Museum as a Method. Eine Strasse als Museum organized by the Wien Museum and Museumsakademie Joanneum.

Three members of Hong Kong's Community Museum Project (Howard Chan, Siu King-Chung and Tse Pak-Chai) made a presentation on several of their projects including documentation of protest 'props', a major project they did documenting the demise of Lee Tung Street (Hong Kong) as the area was redeveloped by the city (the subject of the Wien Museum exhibition) and a 'refrigerator project' that consisted of analyzing the contents of 24 households' refrigerators. They described their methods and techniques they have used and what they have learned.

Then we broke into groups and attempted to develop ideas for creating a similar project in Vienna. We focused on Vienna's Naschmarkt, a market for fresh food quite nearby the Wien Museum. The two groups identified several different ideas, the common thread seemed to be learning more about what goes on 'behind' both literally and figuratively at the market. This includes everything from social relationships between the shop keepers (it's one of the most diverse places in Vienna) to how they haul the garbage. We did not really come to any conclusion, but the discussion was quite interesting. Here are my Naschmarkt photos from Flickr.

My own hope is to develop some sort of infrastructure museum where people can learn how different urban infrastructure systems work, about the people who built and operate them, about the social life that takes place in and around these systems ... somewhat similar to the Heathrow Airport class I took last fall. I got lots of good ideas from today's conference.

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