The Time Travellers

Otto, Ton (2015) The Time Travellers.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Time Travellers (the Origin Stairs, Moesgaard Museum, Denmark)) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Image (JPEG) (Stephen Hawking ( Moesgaard Museum, Denmark)) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Image (JPEG) (Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking: an internationally acclaimed theoretical physicist from Britain (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark)) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Image (JPEG) (Stephen Hawking: an internationally acclaimed theoretical physicist from Britain (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark)) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Image (JPEG) (Paul Gurrumuruwuy: an Aboriginal of the Yolngu in Australia (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark)) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Image (JPEG) (Paul Gurrumuruwuy: an Aboriginal of the Yolngu in Australia (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark)) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Image (JPEG) (Galina Ainatgual: a Chukchi from the northern Kamchatka in Siberia (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark)) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: http://www.moesgaardmuseum.dk/en/exhibit...
 
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Abstract

When ascending the stairway towards the ethnographic exhibition at Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, visitors meet the sculptures of three contemporary people – all from very different cultures and societies:

Paul Gurrumuruwuy – an aboriginal of the Yolngu in Australia.

Galina Ainatgual – a Chukchi from the northern Kamchatka in Siberia.

Stephen Hawking – an internationally acclaimed theoretical physicist from Britain.

The three people appear to be in discussion with each other and words flowing down a projected stream of water form spoken sentences that present their cultural perspectives on human origin: where are we as humans from and where are we going?

Their perspectives are an obvious starting point for the ethnographic exhibition as ethnography is about people, culture and societies all over the World. By encountering various perspectives from different cultures, we may see the World in a new light and context – The World of others, as well as our own.

In three recorded video interviews the audience can learn more about the three interlocutors' views on the flow of time. The key idea is to show how a universal given is culturally refracted and enacted. While sharing the same time, the three contemporary individuals have starkly different ways to conceptualise how past, present and future are connected.

The text on the wall provides some background:

The passage of time affects all human beings. But people understand and experience time very differently. Here on the stairs, three contemporary individuals discuss their ideas about time on the basis of very different cultural traditions: modern science, ancestral lore, and shamanistic ritual. They address the big questions that engage human beings all over the world: Where do we come from and where are we going?

Research Statement

Research Background Ethnographic museum displays have long been criticised for creating representations of other cultures outside of time. This exhibit challenges this mode of curation and also the linear presumptions of Western historical time by presenting three figures (a Yolngu Aboriginal man, Paul Gurrumuruwuy, a Siberian shaman woman, Galina Ainatgual, and a British physicist, Stephen Hawking) in discussion about their various ways of conceptualising the flow of time.
Research Contribution Recasting the old exhibition form of using human figures, this exhibit re-purposes museum diorama in a montage setting by bringing three people together in an unlikely configuration. In doing so it enacts another level of realism - hyperrealism – to create both an element of reality and estrangement. Arranged as if in conversation, each figure provides their answer to questions of time: where do we come from, where are we going to?
Research Significance The significance of this research is that it creatively enacts the mission of anthropology to communicate across cultural differences about the common conditions of human kind. It claims both universalism of being a human person and the specificities of cultural perspective, embodied by individually identified figures, who have collaborated with anthropologists to create this exhibit. The exhibition has featured in Danish and international news and magazines, and it has attracted an audience of more than 1 million visitors since the official opening in October 2014.
Item ID: 51265
Media of Output: silicon, natural hair, glass, digital projection, audio recording
Show/Exhibition: Time Travellers
Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus, Denmark
11 October 2014 - present
Keywords: ethnography, ethnographic, Moesgaard Museum, anthropology, Indigenous, Aboriginal, Yolngu, Chukchi, Stephen Hawking
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Additional Information:

Copyright © Moesgaard Museum.

Moesgaard Museum has given permission for the images to be displayed in ResearchOnline@JCU. These images cannot be downloaded from the ResearchOnline@JCU website.

Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2018 00:54
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
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