Authenticity as a Resource
Historical and Cultural Anthropology
|Project Management|| |
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und für Archäologie des Mittelalters
Abteilung Archäologie des Mittelalters
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft
Telefonnummer: 07071 29 75309
SFB 1070 RessourcenKulturen
What is it that makes objects authentic and thus turns them into a cultural resource? Is it their material, their use or their history? How is value assigned to them? Is this done by staging them as creators of national identity, or rather by emphasising their aspect as being something ‘original’?
Questions like these are analysed by project C07 using ships in major (cultural-) historical museums such as the Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum Mainz (RGZM) in Mainz as an example. The project consists of two case studies working on historical ships or their replicas, one from the perspective of historical and cultural anthropology, the other from an archaeological point of view. Both share a common starting point with the hypothesis that authenticity is closely related to valuation processes of culture. It is something that is constructed, not given. The project aims to explore such processes of valuation and to historically and anthropologically reconstruct the cultural logic of authenticity as a resource.
The case study ‘Practices of Valuation in the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz‘ elaborates in cooperation with the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz and the Leibniz Forschungsverbund Historische Authentizität the authenticity of museum exhibits on a variety of levels. It will focus on the genuineness of material, but on immersion and life-like experiences as well. Especially new media and augmented reality formats require a general reflection about how a modern concept of authenticity maybe defined as a category of valuation within curatorial practices.
Using ancient ships and their replicas in the Museum für Antike Schifffahrt of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz as an example, the case study explores how these objects moved around within the Museum, which departments used and worked with them, which exhibitions made use of them, which stories were they employed to tell and what were the intentions of the museum in staging them. Applying the methods of Qualitative Research (especially interviews, observation and archive studies) the history of the RGZM – one of the oldest historical research museums – will be scrutinised, in order to understand how this museum valuated its objects in the past and in present.
The case study ‘Find, Symbol, Replica – Kinds and Evaluations of ‘Authenticities’ of Archaeological Objects’ explores ‘authenticity’ and ‘valuation’ of a selection of medieval and early modern ship finds in North Europe. The chosen examples not only are distinct findings and object of scientific discourse, but also are objects of museum exposure and as such potent symbols for the public and the media, and are constantly valuated, evaluated and re-evaluated in various ways.
Applying an object centred perspective scientific observations and staging of the objects are analysed under the aspect of differing authenticities, but also popular beliefs in mass-media and replicas: what is the meaning of authenticity of the materiality of archaeological finds, of museum objects, of ideas and beliefs about them and of replicas? Museum space and modern mass media play an important role both as a means of communication and as actors. The aim is to understand how archaeological objects turned into cultural resources by analysing medial representations, interviews and exhibition concepts.