For the sixth edition of Local Issues and Locales, Honours in Curatorship student Adele van Heerden explores the use of cabinets in the university, with a particular focus on those found in the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology’s Niven Library.
As a part of their Local Issues and Locales course, the Honours in Curatorship students explored various collections on Upper Campus. Dylan Owen shares his views on the curatorship of the Physics Department’s collection
The toy story of the Simon’s Town Warrior Toy Museum is both ancient and present. Here, historic toys infiltrate their way into the contemporary era – at first creating temporal visual confusion.
As I oriented myself to the space, a miniature marching SS army and its leader, saluting an absent Hitler, grabbed my attention with their vivid plasticity. A flimsy label echoed Winston Churchill’s voice in his appeal to not forget the negative side of history. This encounter evoked ambivalence in me, both to the curatorial framework as well as to the content. Here, a scene was settled by the condemnation of the history, yet valued for keeping a difficult history alive in the audience’s conscience – for society not to repeat the horrors of the past.
As a part of the Honours in Curatorship Local Issues and Locales course, the Honours in Curatorship class recently attended a fieldtrip to UCT’s Pathology Learning Centre. In preparation for the fieldtrip, Josephine Higgins provided a lecture on the Michaelis Galleries exhibition, Between Subject & Object: Human remains at the interface of art and science (2014),that she co-curated with Kathryn Smith and Penny Siopis, highlighting questions about the representation of the dead body. Between Subject & Object explored the idea of the corpse as a continuum between subject and object, similarities and differences across scientific and fine art representations, the ethics of such representations, andvarious rituals of interacting with the dead body, such as cleansing, preparation and mourning practices. We discussed how remains can signify the whole, highlighting the need to treat such ‘specimens’ with respect, and with this sensitivity in mind we arrived at the Pathology Learning Centre.
Supposing you could take part in an experiment where you walk into every museum in Cape Town blindfolded and try to identify your surroundings, the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum would be the easiest to pinpoint. Entering the relatively small though very well utilised space opposite the Cape Town Eye at the V&A Waterfront on a Thursday afternoon, you are confronted with an unexpectedly noisy room. This, the tour guide boldly declares, is encouraged
The Kirby collection housed at the University of Cape Town’s music campus shows the tensions involved in the acquisition and maintenance of a collection of rare and delicate objects. The viewer gets to experience the negotiation between conceptualization and practice. With these antiquated but practical objects, the museumgoer weighs their need for gratification against the need for a latter generation to witness the experience they never had.