Sara Sejin Chang (Sara Van Der Heide)
With the series '24 European Ethnographic Museums' Van der Heide questions the construction and identity of the ethnographic museum today. Here, the project becomes a collection of artefacts in and upon itself and by recording the names of these institutions Van der Heide places the viewer in front of the dilemma: who is authorized to decide what is an artefact, and what should be collected and for what reason? In the 19th century, with the birth of the current European nations, museums openly referred to their colonial past. Today the museums bare more euphemistic names like: ‘Museum der Kulturen’ or ‘World Museum’ but still place the West as the self-acclaimed center of the world. The existence of the ethnographic museum, which is intertwined with the complicated and loaded colonial past, has been subject to contemporary criticism. While some of the European ethnographic institutions have attempted to come to terms with the past of their collections and their heritage, Van der Heide focuses upon how language continues to reflect the political present of the institutions.