A modern society lives on the intersection of countless flows of goods and migrants, and inevitably develops a transcultural order of things. Forms of various origins connect, overlap or interfere with one another within this precarious mixture. Some things – the crucifix, the headscarf or some German car brands – serve to reinforce collective identities or (the flipside of the coin) provoke vehement defensive reactions. There are also forms with no fixed meaning that can be appropriated and recast in a variety of different ways, including melodies, cuisine, types of sports or fashion.
Material culture also includes a large number of commodities whose transcultural origins are rarely considered, much less explicitly perceived – like porcelain, for example, carpets, lacquer ware, perfume or shampoo. These everyday goods slip into life-worlds, causing profound changes to it without anyone noticing. The transcultural order of things is not only a testament to diverse ways of perceiving, thinking and acting, but influences them as well.
Mobile Worlds – a cooperation between the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Goethe University in Frankfurt a.M. and the Erich Kästner School in Hamburg-Farmsen – delves into these interconnections in three different subprojects:
The Transcultural Museum
Everyday Life as Exhibition
Migration of Domestic Thing-Universes
The project began with the the conference The Transcultural Classroom on October 6, 2016.
The exhibition at the Museum for Kunst und Gewerbe (MKG) in Hamburg/ Germany intervenes into the collection of the museum. The show represents an attempt to go beyond traditional patterns of thinking and entrenched museum structures in order to reveal the transcultural histories of things and their significance for our society. The curators at MKG will expand on this endeavor by creating satellite presentations for the various areas of the collection. Buergel sees the exhibition in the central galleries of the museum as a medium that not only lays bare the complexity of global interdependence based on the migration of artistic and social forms but which also makes it possible to link things, texts, and images performatively, as if in a three-dimensional collage. This approach has the advantage of shedding light on historical movement curves and social contexts without confining the approximately 200 individual exhibits to a single meaning or interpretation.