Notes from first MM-U meetings KW 2020

First meeting at KW on June 23, 2020 within the exhibition of Hassan Sharif. Notes and quotations drafted by Clémentine Deliss based on the Zoom recording. Not all speakers are represented.

“Collections help us to understand the locality, the landscape of the city and this is key to the project. The project will grow like the rings of a tree. This will affect the funding too, which we will consolidate and develop along the way.” (Krist Gruijthuijsen)

“A certain minimal hierarchical structure is needed – in this case it is Clémentine who is the curator of the MM-U.But it would be good to work out the authorship and engagement of each member.” (Krist Gruijthuijsen)

“We can think about methodology in terms of the difference between setting up relations and translating, and interpreting. We are transported through the stories we tell.” (Matthias Bruhn)

“We are the Black Box: stuff goes in and comes out, but it is changed, different. Are we interpreting, or are we performing with a Dali-esque paranoid critical method whereby we bring together unrelated objects and make them relate to one another? Regarding the choreography of our sessions. Are they like a Sadeian Salon, with seats (or rather mattresses on the floor claims Barthes, note from Clémentine), so that acts of interpretation are erotic and performative? Or do we draw up plans with stage directions and quasi-ritualistic scenographies – following Mallarmé – for a major work or book to be?” (Tom McCarthy)

“I don’t like the table, sitting around it, but would prefer a more mobile engagement, possibly in total darkness, with just voices heard. How can we develop a method that engages with moods, and different ways of approaching work?” (Ines Kaag, BLESS)

“We need to think of ways of creating connecting points. We could work with sequences steered by different people who interlink the objects in different ways. The film might be less about the group and more about the objects and how they are displayed.” (Desiree Heiss, BLESS)

“We have a responsibility; we are not neutral. Our individual research should inform our selection criteria.” (Iman Issa)

“We could – as with a university – pool together our research questions.” (Nadim Samman)

“We might think of the possibility of creating a new currency, which in turn would become a social phenomenon and ultimately a business model.” (Matthias Bruhn)

Second meeting at KW on July 14, 2020 within the exhibition of Hassan Sharif. Participants:
BLESS, Ines Kaag, Desiree Heiss, situation designers
Matthias Bruhn, iconologist and historian
Clémentine Deliss, KW associate curator
Krist Gruijthuijsen, KW director
Sabrina Herrmann, KW curatorial assistant
Iman Issa, artist
Augustin Maurs, artist and composer
Tom McCarthy, novelist (via Zoom)
Matt Mullican, artist (via Zoom)
Henrike Naumann, artist
Margareta von Oswald, anthropologist
Nadim Samman, KW curator digital
El Hadj Abdoulaye Sène, lawyer (via Zoom)
Krista Belle Stewart, artist, filmmaker

Each member is asked to bring an artefact or element with them. This can be seen as a kind of rehearsal or exercise for our discussions, which we shall construct in relation to different assemblages. Matt Mullican provides a box of coloured glass slides even though he is in Los Angeles.

First part, introduction of new members:
Krista Belle Stewart (artist and filmmaker)
Abdoulaye Sène (lawyer)
Presentation of historical images of Debating Chambers and previous work with assemblages of collections.
Discussion of the structure of engagement by members of the MM-U over the next months.
Comments from the core group.
Who could the therapist be? What kind of therapist?
Fix dates and locations of next internal core meetings: Mid-September at Bless? Mid-October? Mid-November?
Fix date of first Debating Chamber: 8th or 15th December 2020?
Short break

Second part:
We leave the table and move to the table to discuss the various permutations of the assemblage and the choreography of Debating Chambers.

Some parameters:
Clémentine and Margareta will lead on the curatorial structure of the first Debating Chamber at KW, but with input from the core group.
Subsequent Debating Chambers will be co-curated in collaboration with one or two core members.
Collectors are invited to host Debating Chambers Discussions are underway with Erika Hoffmann, Desiré Feuerle, and Axel Haubrok.
Preparatory meetings could take place at each location.
A minimum of one prep meeting per Debating Chamber is necessary.
University study collections and other research collections in Berlin are being analysed by Margareta, who is making contact with the custodians.
Artefacts are to be loaned and brought to the Debating Chamber.
It would be helpful to have various criteria or tags for the selection of artefacts from research collections from each member of the core group.
Each member can bring 2 guests to each Debating Chamber.
These are not public events, although we may rethink this once we have mastered the system.
Scenography and choreography of the Debating Chambers:
We won’t have predefined furniture but will need to develop this. Clémentine has decided not to use the chairs from last year’s MM-U as the purpose has shifted from “squatting” museum spaces to the scenography and choreography of the Debating Chambers.
Designs for these situations will vary depending on which collector hosts a meeting and who from the core team is co-curating the Debating Chamber.
Krista Belle has been invited to make a film that goes beyond a documentation, and for which she has full freedom.
We will make audio recordings of all the sessions.
We hope to produce Proceedings of the Metabolic Museum-University, or some such title, in print form, and/or online.
An exhibition including all Debating Chambers and other episodes of the MM-U will take place in mid-2023.