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.
Curated by Eno Inwang, Archives and Digital Media Trainee
Materials/Image: White Gloves and a memoir called “How I did it”
A memento intentionally left at the scene of a crime is called a ‘calling card’. For a criminal to leave a clear, and intentional trace at a crime scene takes equal amounts of confidence and folly; exuding a sense of superiority over the investigating party.
A pair of white gloves has many connotations that link theft with art, collecting, and colonialism.
The pair of white gloves placed in the vitrine begs the questions of ‘what was in here?’, ‘Who took the object?’ And ‘how did they do it?