The ethnographic museum Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam owns an art collection formed by cultural goods from dutch colonies. The colonised cultures are forced to orbit, like planets, around the coloniser’s culture. Planets revolve around stars for billions of years. They are constantly falling towards the centre of the star’s gravitational well, but they never reach it. Once in a star’s influence a planet can’t escape, it has to draw elliptical orbits in space forever. That is, if no forces attempt to undermine this power relationship. Transport of cultural goods from colonised areas is the reason of existence of ethnographic museums around the world. Theft is the mode of physical decontextualisation from the culture of origin of those artifacts. Colonial transplantation of meaning occurs through the denial of their essence to transform them into prizes or arguments for racial propaganda. Under these circumstances, the colonial object’s material status is not maintained.
Orbits Angelo Ciccaglione 2019