My name is Ansuman Biswas. I am an artist living in a Gothic Tower in the Manchester Museum, which is part of the University of Manchester, England. Over several months I have been exploring the museum stores and collecting my own little cabinet of curiosities.Each day over the next forty days I will choose an object from my collection and offer it up in a spirit of sacrifice. I will then destroy it. This destruction will inevitably take place unless someone cares for the object… .
Part of the Chinese Wall, this brick is not just Ancient History, but also a constant reminder of the fact that walls can – and often should – be broken down nowadays. For me it symbolises the physical borders that disappeared, and the more metaphysical ones that came into place.
Mankind still evolves – for the better, we hope – and so does our point of view on things. What was thought to be insignificant ages ago can now be of large importance, and vice versa. As time passes we learn more about the ancient cultures we’re studying, often having to re-label items. Yet the label we glued on an artefact in the 18th century, might tell us more about our own civilisation at that time. So take them out of the cupboard and put the most interesting ones on display, please!
Stuffed kiwi bird and
kahu-kiwi ceremonial cloak
Awesome combo! Please, do display it in the museum like this!
Quite a manifesto, no? The Manchester Museum at The University of Manchester holds a collection of over 4 million specimens and objects, many of them Ancient Egyptian artefacts. Like many museums, only a small proportion of the collection is on public display. Artist Ansuman Biswas asks the public to reassess the value of the Museums hidden collections, casting light on a different object from the stores for each day of his residency.
The Manchester Hermit hopes to engage members of the public in debate about why museums collect and preserve objects, whilst allowing species and cultures to become forgotten and extinct. He also questions the relationship of human beings to the natural world, hinting at the inevitable extinction of the human race itself. The artist asks the public to comment via his blog on the individual objects, reflecting on how, why and by whom they are valued. He will be inviting the public to consider where these hidden gems are best housed and how they should be treated.
Working closely with the Museums curators, Ansuman Biswas will select 40 objects from the Museums vast collection, focusing on the hidden gems. Some of these objects will be highly valued in terms of their academic and scientific importance, rarity or aesthetic beauty, whilst others will be forgotten objects that have been overlooked and underused by the Museum.
Manchester Hermit will ask the public to comment via his blog on the individual objects, reflecting on how, why and by whom they are valued. He will be inviting the public to consider where these hidden gems are best housed and how they should be treated.
Read more about the ‘Why?’ on the Manchester Hermit’s blog. And if you see something on the ‘destroy’ list that you think holds value, definitely defend the object of your choice, so it may (re)claim it’s position in ‘on display’. May the best of objects survive! 😉