The Case: a new micro-museum series
‘The Case’ is a new curated micro-museum series that raises questions about which objects are worthy of being collected and exhibited, what system(s) we use to group them together, and which narratives and questions arise when objects are placed together. Exhibitions are set up in a vitrine, existing online only and curated by New Museum School trainees with invited guest artists and contributors. We understand the word ‘case’ as having three meanings that are relevant to the experience of a museum display. It can be the instance of an occurrence, a container for objects, or in law it can denote a dispute between opposing parties.
Emblematic of the Victorian museum, vitrines are an important aspect of the history of visual presentation, whether this is in the commercial marketing of goods, or in curatorial display in museums and galleries. The word ‘vitrine’ comes to English by way of the Old French word ‘vitre’, meaning ‘pane of glass,’ and from the Latin ‘vitrum’, also meaning ‘glass’. Vitrines confer an aura upon the objects contained within them, producing fascination and distance in the spectator. Taking this as a starting point, ‘The Case’ micro-museum is curated in the Culture& studio, comprising an antique vitrine and plinth. This miniature exhibition space launched in August 2019 with its inaugural show, ‘Vitreous Stories’.
Vitrines are discrete spaces within themselves, representing the obsession of Western culture with the gaze. They also represent the alienation of objects from spectators and re-enact the otherness and estrangement of the colonial subject.
‘St Andrew’s Crossbreed’ (September 2019)
Curated by Kirsty Kerr, Culture& Trainee Assistant Curator.
Objects: Plastic cup of Irn-Bru, sugar cubes, framed and unframed Google maps marking locations in Jamaica and Scotland, Scotch Bonnet peppers, MacGregor and Kerr tartan, ‘Pinoy Jokes’ t-shirt, embroidered name labels, rice grains, dried heather flowers, antique vitrine.
In this exhibition , Kirsty Kerr explores the Scottish heritage that she shares with Culture& Director, Dr Errol Francis, as a vehicle to interrogate hidden historical narratives and the struggle to identify with one’s cultural background. Whilst both have names that connect them to Scottish clans and tartans (Errol’s mother’s maiden name was MacGregor), they have each experienced situations of unbelonging, with the ubiquity of whiteness as default raising issues about what it means to look Scottish “enough” to claim them. ‘St Andrew’s Crossbreed’ is a series of assemblages that explore the complexity of heritage, and the limits of names as holders of identity.
August 2019: ‘Vitreous Stories’ by Kirsty Kerr, Daisy Chan, Vanessa Otim and Qanitah Malik
September 2019: ‘St Andrew’s Crossbreed’ by Kirsty Kerr
October 2019 – December 2019: ‘Inside and Out‘ by Samuel Pontin
February 2020: ‘An Exhibitionary Complex‘ by Jenny Pistella
March 2020: Eno Inwang