Clary-Lemon, Jennifer. (2015). Museums as material: Experiential landscapes and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Enculturation, 20.
Clary-Lemon develops a network material approach to working with museums as distributed and choric.
Keywords: Archives, Methodology, Materiality, Network, Research Methods
“I map a material-rhetorical approach to analyzing contemporary museum sites, drawing on Vicki Tolar Burton’s notion of rhetorical accretion (547) and the heuristic work of Carole Blair with memorial sites. By bringing the work of these scholars together, I demonstrate that “reading” museum sites with material methodology in mind results in tactics for invention which emphasize networks over discrete discursive elements” (para. 1).
“I argue for an approach to material sites that engages each layer as connected to the next in a network of accretions which can help researchers form an attendant whole from seemingly disparate markers of diffuse texts” (para. 6).
“It is my hope, then, that considering museum interiors and landscapes as both housing and being different “core texts” that can be seen through a lens of material rhetoric can encourage complex understandings of the layers that are formed from objects, spaces, architecture, and affect from a range of different subject positions, and disturb the bifurcation of inside/outside that emerges from considering museums as object repositories—instead opening these landscapes to see inside and outside as connected in a network of place” (para. 6).
“Layers of durability connect with reproduction, with human relationships. Affect and force interconnect with layers of preservation and enabling functions of the museum-as-text on other texts. A material-rhetorical networked approach to invention in museum sites which layers and connects gathered moments, materials, places, emotions, texts, and technologies offers more than heuristical knowledge; instead, it opens up possibilities for analysis that ‘depend greatly on the principle of response’ within diffuse distributed textual and spatial frames (Swarts 122)” (para. 28).
“Too, this analysis reveals a partial look at the ways in which museum texts work within material contexts as they come into being; that is to say, to read other texts, relationships, and artifacts as arising out of and in conjunction with the materiality of museums disrupts, to some degree, the notion of originary orderliness that museums often unintentionally curate. In moving the topos—’place as empty container’—to the chōra—place as a seat of “dream reasoning” (Walter 68)—examining networked accretions of built sites offers another attempt at Ulmer’s (Heuretics) notion of chorography, and gives scholars a rich place to invent, explore, find, and qualify wholes out of seemingly disparate parts” (para. 29).