Klaus Weschenfelder: Museum und Amnesie


While archival content is conserved in order to prove ownership or to document procedures with binding social consequences, museums follow collection principles that are individual and subject to constant change, as will be illustrated with the help of examples past and present. In the past decades paradigm changes in the fields of archaeology and biology have led to the re-evaluation of excavations and field research. Strategies have been developed for the documentation of contemporary culture on the part of museums. The concept of anticipatory archiving which underlies these strategies is yet to be fully understood. While Dürer postulated a durability of fivehundred years for his paintings, many contemporary artists have little consideration for the permanence of their works and take into account the works' process of disintegration. Divergencies and discrepancies in the contemporary world of objects, whether they belong to art, technology, everyday life or nature, and in the way they are handed down have to be regarded as a basic phenomenon of museum work. In this respect prophylaxes against the »digital oblivion« should be considered as part of an overall concept against cultural amnesia. Risks and side effects in the form of museum bulimia should be taken heed of. What can museums contribute as public cultural institutions, how should they present themselves, which strategic partnerships can they contract or must they accept?