Since its opening in July 2021, the exhibition After Nature in the Humboldt Lab has changed and evolved. In addition to new research stations and objects, new texts have been written by young people and students. With the help of different coloured folding plans, visitors can discover these text perspectives. Each colour stands for its own topic, which runs through the room like a blue, green, pink or orange thread.
The research objects in the centre of the exhibition After Nature tell different stories – depending on the perspective from which you look at them. With three texts per object, the curators wanted to enable multi-perspectivity, but also to question the idea that there can be a neutral narrative of museum exhibits. In addition, they decided on a pictorial view, so that in addition to the three texts, an illustration is also offered. Visitors can take these home with them as postcards.
Just like research in scientific laboratories, exhibiting in the Humboldt Lab is a process. That is why the inaugural exhibition has changed since it opened. And it has done so with the help of academic and non-academic experts who were invited to bring in their topics and perspectives on the exhibited objects and to write their own texts.
Four thematic paths were created that enable visitors to explore the exhibition through the eyes of the respective experts and to create their own connections between the objects. A pink path, for example, was created together with the Critical Young Friends of the Jugend Museum. It takes a power-critical perspective. According to Jan Hagen, one of the Critical Young Friends, the biggest difference to the previous object labels is “that we bring in current references to world politics or ask questions about colonialism. Because the point of our work is to question power critically. We look at the power imbalance between the global North and the global South and ask: What are the conditions like, why are they like this – and should they be like this?”
Under the motto “Think sustainable!”, students from the Humboldt-Universität have created a green path running through the exhibition. Over the course of a semester, they dealt with questions of “Education for Sustainable Development” (ESD) in the seminar room behind the exhibition spaces and wrote their own object texts on the topic of sustainability. The blue path on the topic of “The Gender of Science” was developed by doctoral students of the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS and deals with questions of gender, exclusion and discrimination in academia.
This participatory idea also includes the visitors themselves: At the back of the exhibition, they can browse through the archive of exchanged object labels and thus follow the process how the exhibition developed. A guest book allows them to leave comments. On a light table with transparent floor plans of the exhibition, visitors can draw their own paths through the exhibition and connecting lines between the objects. In this way, an increasingly dense network of links and relationships is created over time. After all, After Nature is many exhibitions in one – depending on how one moves through the space and which view one takes of things.
Author: Alina Januscheck
|Date:||21. Februar 2023|