Recordings of papers from the 2nd Garage International Conference
The Reflexive Museum explored the necessity of developing new models of cultural institutions.
What is a 21st century museum of contemporary art? A repository of experience or a platform for artistic experimentation? To what extent should the museum respond to the challenges of its time? Can a museum as an institution of culture operate outside the concurrent socio-political situation? Are the responsibilities and ethics of public and private museums the same?
Derived from Ancient Greek, the term “museum” originally referred to a temple dedicated to the Muses. In more recent times, it has been used and construed differently in contemporary cultures to reflect a range of diverse practices.
In Russian, however, the word “museum” remains most often associated with the sole function of historic conservation, and unlike current European and American traditions, the Museum is described as “influential” rather than “friendly” and “responsive,” “reserved” rather than “dynamic” and “reflexive.”
Finding a Russian equivalent for the adjectives “reflexive” and “responsive” in the conference title proved challenging. So, for its Russian title, Garage used the word reshitel’nyi (resolute) to underscore the conference's goals: first, to invite the Russian museum community to learn about the many opportunities for progress and development and second, to act in accordance with the legacy of the Russian avant-garde artists, who created the first revolutionary model for a museum “intended to collect all kinds of existing art that creates change and designed to exert influence on life through it.”
(Kazimir Malevich, The Museum of Artistic Culture).