To support the dialogue between science and society, as well as researchers across different disciplines, IRI THESys holds both external and internal events. This includes lecture series, summer universities and panel discussions open to the public, and participative workshops, colloquiums and activities for IRI THESys. Browse through our past and upcoming events to find out more.
Tracing Temporalities // Unearthing Archives
27-28 April 2023
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik (HZK), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS), Potsdam
About this workshop
Collections are sites for preserving traces of the past for the future. Acquired, cared for, and interpreted in museums and archives, they have been developed concurrently with scientific disciplines. In geosciences, collections of geological and stratigraphic specimens extracted from territories worldwide have served to mark deep time. They contribute to the scientific im-agination of nature that can be contained and classified. Ethnographic collections acquired to represent peoples and cultures have rendered them as if frozen in time. Conservation practice has worked to keep objects timeless, reflecting the moment they entered the collection. This ahistorical perspective is entangled with coloniality and continues to affect collections' classifi-cation, safekeeping, and interpretation. This poses ethical challenges for both collections com-prising ethnographic objects and those acquired in earth archives, holding records of human and more-than-human pasts.
Collections seek to tell a coherent story about “nature” or “culture” from traces of social lives and geological formations. However, these traces and their environments defy and challenge the classificatory efforts and measurement practices. Although collections are kept to span through time, their objects are not timeless. They require vast energy, materials, and infrastruc-ture. The cost of prolonging the lives of things and keeping collections stable in museums and scientific archives creates ethical dilemmas regarding resource management, preservation, and sustainability. In this TRACTS workshop, we ask
What are the ethical challenges of tracing temporalities and researching collections in museums and earth archives?
Organized by the COST Action “Trace as a Research Agenda for Climate Change, Technology Studies, and Social Justice” (TRACTS), we critically explore the ethics of collections in muse-ums and geological archives through the lens of temporality. The event seeks to ignite an in-terdisciplinary exchange between the disparate fields of inquiry in the critical studies of different forms of collections and archives. Using a range of case studies of collections and (earth) archives, we dig into the ethics of acquisition, preservation, interpretation, use, and re-activa-tion of this material today and explore its potential for the future.
Magdalena Buchczyk | Martín Fonck | Tina Palaić | Tomás Usón