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Biomedicine in museums

Examine first, ask what it is later — comments on David Pantalony's talk at Medical Museion

Yesterday, David Pantalony from University of Ottawa and the Canada Science and Technology Museum gave a talk in Medical Museion’s MUSE seminar series titled ‘Examine first, ask what it is later: The multiple interpretations of 20th century scientific artifacts’.

David’s presentation gave rise to an intense discussion and an interesting stream of twitter-comments that are eternalised on Storify here.

Some excerpts from the Twitter comments here:

  • Engaging objects is a way of resisting a textual constriction of knowledge
  • Maybe you cld say that an ‘exhibition curator’ *cares* for objects, while an ‘exhibitionist’ shows off
  • Did Pantalony just say: “I don’t really understand exhibitions” ?
  • Bottom-up curatorship is a good example of biopolitical production (vide Negri) – after all Latin ‘cura’ means ‘care’
  • “Going into the collection my goal is to learn about the world. Not the history of specific technology” (David Pantalony)
  • Wonderful to hear a exhibition curator (@SciTechCurator) who takes the collected object as his evident point of departure
  • Collection multitude vs. cultural Empire (to paraphrase Hardt and Negri)
  • Museum collections are an “immovable foundation of diversity” in a culturally and politically homogenous landscape
  • Pantalony: Museum collections as source of diversity to counter cultural, political, artistic & intellectual homogeneity in society.
  • Medical device arrives at museum painted one color. Doesn’t mean it spent its working life in that particular skin
  • Pantalony neatly gestalts his points about the need for a close engagement with objects through his own enthusiasm.
  • Where to start when starting from a museum object? How about asking if people *like* it and why?
  • David (@SciTechCurator) radiates a unadulterated love for objects; very contagiuos 🙂
  • Pantalony persuasive on starting from the object for curation, display, and also teaching and staff encounters
  • Museum objects as trophees!
Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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