The priority area sees collecting and exhibiting as cultural techniques that are linked to very specific forms of knowledge production. This applies to analogue, object-based practices, which have been firmly established since Renaissance-era chambers of curiosities and are chiefly institutionalised in the museum, but equally to today’s digital media techniques, which raise more urgently than ever before the question of the structure and significance of the collected objects and possible forms of presentation.
Within these historically and systematically broad perspectives, objects in all the diversity of their media and material characteristics – whether they are three-dimensional objects, digital sound objects, images or index cards – are first and foremost polysemic carriers of meaning. In other words, they generate different orders of knowledge in each particular domain of knowledge. As such, collecting and exhibiting are intrinsically bound to each other. Exhibitions place objects in new constellations and configurations that do not exist outside the exhibition space. They show, more or less explicitly, how objects are brought together, which taxonomies they fall under and which research practices generated them.
Collections are the tangible result of a research practice that is always primarily oriented towards showing and exhibiting – not just in the museum, but also at universities and especially at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in its past and today. Drawing on the history of the university’s own collections, this research priority area links the theories and cultural techniques of collecting and exhibiting with current challenges in research and science communication.
Priority Area Leaders:
Dr. Jochen Hennig
Prof. Dr. Christian Kassung