We embrace hands-on, improvisational routes into our fieldwork, approaching archival research as an affective, subjective, even lyrical practice. Our research at the Gothenburg Museum of World Culture focuses not on its curated displays and exhibitions, but rather on the overlooked and neglected holdings in its archives. We engage with these anthropological artifacts in exploratory ways, re-casting them into new frameworks that challenge their status as authoritative objects of colonial narratives. Using methods of assemblage, bricolage and defamiliarization to critique established scientific mechanisms of collection, classification and display, our archival research also incorporates personal dialogues tied to our own long-term, cross-disciplinary friendship and collaborative practice.
In May 2017, we co-organized Seeing Through Objects, a multidisciplinary workshop held within the Museum of World Culture’s archives. We invited participants from a range of fields (photography, fine art, poetry, archaeology, psychology, earth and space science, conservation) to conduct observations of a selection of objects from the Museum's collection. This exercise then fed into broader discussions around the methods, tools, approaches and assumptions that are often taken for granted within distinct disciplinary practices.
Our current project at the archives of the Museum of World Culture involves researching an unlikely collection of rocks, gathered by the former museum director Erland Nordenskiöld. We are investigating these rocks’ physical and material qualities, their textual and photographic forms of documentation, their institutional and historical records (as well as their absence), and their contemporary potential to tap into individual dreams, cultural memories, and decolonizing narratives.