Part of home art residency Casa Lucas Alamán, Mexico City.

Museum of Resurrection (transferencia de la vida y de la muerte)

2020

Transfer of memories through microorganisms by touch from the surfaces of colonial and pre-hispanic stone figurines into cultivating Petri dish.

"The museum is not an aggregate of objects, but a congregation of persons; its activity consists not in accumulating dead things, but in restoring life to the remains of the dead, in reestablishing the dead through their works, via living agents."

- Nikolai Fedorov, The Museum, Its Meaning and Mission, (1906)

Part of my art residency at Casa Lucas Alamán—I cultivate microorganisms from a variety of stone figurines, both colonial and pre-hispanic from the home's collection. This action transfers the living matter that thrives on the stone figurines, fungi and bacteria, into the Petri dish. I touch and transport the line between our life and death that is subliminal and fragile—connecting ourselves with different strands of ancestral memory brought by these objects.

This material smells like earth, the processes of decomposition—the Petri dish mimics a planetary shape filled with a brown sense of land. I question the notion of conserving brown, black and indigenous artifacts within an institutional and museology context by highlighting the "disintegration" of these archeological objects. The ephemeral processes of bacteria and fungi are often sterilized within the museum space and are considered as "contamination". I relate this back to the historical treatment of brown, black and indigenous bodies deemed as "hazardous" and "unclean" by embracing the materials that bring smell, bacteria, dirt, mold, and insects from these objects. This challenges the conservation and sanitized presentation of othered objects (pre-hispanic, african, native american, etc.) within the colonial and Eurocentric historical framework.

Museum of Resurrection reanimates the life of these defined works, where the processes of stone and putrefaction are embraced all while blurring and expanding our definitions of memory, body and land. 

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© Angel Lartigue 2021