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Museum on Fire!

20 Apr – 25 Jun '17
Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA)
Nedre gate 7

‘Museums on Fire!’, was a symposium in Oslo and subsequently in Kárášjohka (Karasjok) that took place against a scenography specially commissioned to artist Anders Sunna, with a number of actions and interventions by artists Raven Chacon, Carola Grahn, Geir Tore Holm and Duane Linklater. The scenography by Anders Sunna remained on public view at OCA from 20 April - 25 June 2017.

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'Museums on Fire', scenography by Anders Sunna. Photo: OCA / Herman Dreyer

‘Museums on Fire!’ considered the entanglement of art institutions within the colonial and modernist ideologies that created them, and asked artists, curators, academics of Indigenous and non-Indigenous descent to consider the spaces and processes through which Indigenous artistic practices, past and present, should be addressed today. What would a non-colonial museum look, feel and sound like? Is it enough to widen the modernist art historical canon through the politics of inclusion? And is the museum per se an obsolete model for Indigenous practices? Should novel constellations of thought and practice be sought to affirm and mediate the Indigenous discourses of the future?

With the significant ‘Indigenisation’ of the international art world – as Indigenous voices are increasingly sought after for biennials, residencies, exhibitions and art fairs – art institutions are facing the challenge of engaging meaningfully with indigenous thinking. While the problematic issues of modern institutions were denounced early on by the likes of artist Kazimir Malevič (his 1919 text On the Museum celebrated the empowering force of burning museums) today this questioning is most profoundly felt to come from current Indigenous artistic practices.

Confirmed speakers in the symposium are Raven Chacon, Carola Grahn, Geir Tore Holm, Anna Hudson, Eva Dagny Johansen, Jonathan Jones, Duane Linklater, Catalina Lozano, Gerald McMaster, Anne May Olli and Anders Sunna. Artists’ interventions by Raven Chacon, Carola Grahn, with screenings of works by Geir Tore Holm and Duane Linklater. ‘Museums on Fire!’ is curated by Katya García-Antón, with Antonio Cataldo, Ida Marie Ellinggard and Vilde Horvei.

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Drum Grid concert, composed by Raven Chacon. Performed by students from Prosjektskolen. Photo: OCA / Magne Risnes

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'Museums on Fire!' symposium day 2: Audience watching screening of The Right to the Land and Water by Geir Tore Holm. Photo: OCA / Magne Risnes

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