Ruth Bielfeldt, Philipp Schorch, Philipp Stockhammer & Uta Werlich

Materiality — museology — knowledge

Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) research focus

This CAS research focus studies and experimentally enacts the relationship between materiality, museology and knowledge. Museums were constitutive of academic disciplines that engage with different kinds of materiality, such as anthropology, archaeo­logy, art history and natural history. Yet, with the development of different methodological approaches and conceptual/theoretical frameworks, museums have often been reduced to sites that allegedly just (re)present the knowledge produced elsewhere, in universities or research institutes. This research focus re-approaches museums through their underpinning museology—as an epistemological apparatus consisting of spatial settings and modalities, methodo­logical structures and processes, and material and aesthetic practices, which is constitutive of knowledge and brimming with epistemological potentials. More specifically, we are interested in the interrelation and mutual constitution of thing, space, practice and perception.

The research programme over two years will consist of hands-on thinking-by-doing with collections and in exhibitionary environments to experimentally enact the relationship between materiality, museology and knowledge in order to gain novel insights into the interrelation and mutual constitution of thing, space, practice and perception. In doing so, the research focus group will draw together the disciplinary regimes of anthropology, archaeology, art history and natural history from both sides, the museum and the university, and will mobilize the insights gained beyond their respective disciplinary framing and bring them into innovative interdisciplinary conversations.