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'Who knows the Fate of his Bones'? Rethinking the body on display: object, art or human remains?

'Who knows the Fate of his Bones'? Rethinking the body on display: object, art or human remains?
'Who knows the Fate of his Bones'? Rethinking the body on display: object, art or human remains?
Collecting and displaying bodies, a practice giving once living people the anomalous status of ‘objects’ or ‘art’, is increasingly contested. The challenge that bodies pose to contemporary museum and gallery practice through their potent blend of attraction and repulsion is the central issue addressed in this paper. The ethical and legal issues involved in the recovery and display of bodies have been discussed by many commentators (Kåks 1998; Nail 1994; Parker Pearson 1995; Steel 2004; Vaswani 2001). This important debate has led to changes in practice in repatriating human remains (Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2003). This paper focuses on the conceptualization of the body in the museum and how this enables human remains to be collected, displayed and viewed. Emotional reactions – and how these inform the boundaries of the acceptable – will be considered using experimental evidence exploring reactions to human-like animal flesh and human hair and teeth. Issues relating to the use of human remains in art practice are discussed and changing practices in the display of human remains are reviewed.
museum body human remains art practice ethics
9780415444675
343-354
Routledge
Brooks, M.M.
c0e8f43c-4324-46c5-97b9-bea17e9eb3b0
Weston, C.
ab54cbc5-349d-4735-8a93-1397c8dd4420
Knell, Simon, J.
Macleod, Suzanne
Watson, Sheila
Brooks, M.M.
c0e8f43c-4324-46c5-97b9-bea17e9eb3b0
Weston, C.
ab54cbc5-349d-4735-8a93-1397c8dd4420
Knell, Simon, J.
Macleod, Suzanne
Watson, Sheila

Brooks, M.M. and Weston, C. (2006) 'Who knows the Fate of his Bones'? Rethinking the body on display: object, art or human remains? Knell, Simon, J., Macleod, Suzanne and Watson, Sheila (eds.) In Museum Revolutions: How Museums Change and are Changed. Routledge. pp. 343-354 .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Collecting and displaying bodies, a practice giving once living people the anomalous status of ‘objects’ or ‘art’, is increasingly contested. The challenge that bodies pose to contemporary museum and gallery practice through their potent blend of attraction and repulsion is the central issue addressed in this paper. The ethical and legal issues involved in the recovery and display of bodies have been discussed by many commentators (Kåks 1998; Nail 1994; Parker Pearson 1995; Steel 2004; Vaswani 2001). This important debate has led to changes in practice in repatriating human remains (Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2003). This paper focuses on the conceptualization of the body in the museum and how this enables human remains to be collected, displayed and viewed. Emotional reactions – and how these inform the boundaries of the acceptable – will be considered using experimental evidence exploring reactions to human-like animal flesh and human hair and teeth. Issues relating to the use of human remains in art practice are discussed and changing practices in the display of human remains are reviewed.

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More information

Submitted date: 2006
Additional Information: This book presents research into the ways in which museums are shaped and configured and how they themselves attempt to shape and change the world around them. Written by a group of leading museum professionals and academics from around the world and including new research from internationally renowned scholars, the chapters reveal the diverse and subtle means by which museums engage and in so doing change and are changed. The authors span over 200 years discussing national museums, ecomuseums, society museums, provincial galleries, colonial museums, the showman’s museum, and science centres. Topics covered include: • disciplinary practices • ethnic representation • postcolonial politics • social reform • conceptions of history • sustainability • sacred objects • controversy • learning.
Venue - Dates: The Museum: A World Forum, 2006-05-01 - 2006-05-01
Keywords: museum body human remains art practice ethics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 37962
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/37962
ISBN: 9780415444675
PURE UUID: ffe5939a-cddb-4e80-baaa-9a9c015ccdf2

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:40

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Contributors

Author: M.M. Brooks
Author: C. Weston
Editor: Simon, J. Knell
Editor: Suzanne Macleod
Editor: Sheila Watson

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