Gravesen_Plastazote2_a_g.jpg

Curator

human, 2300 C.E.

mid-Anthropocene

 Object Spaces: A Plastazote® storage mount for a past object

c. 2060s

South Dakota, United States

This object is a residue of the many millions of museum objects returned to their rightful owners returned during The Golden Age of Repatriation (2025-52 C.E.). Believed to have housed a Lakota Medicinal bundle, formerly in the possession of the National Museum of Denmark, returned to the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center, South Dakota, US (Accession No #NM-877-V9).


Prior to the Golden Age of Repatriation, Western museums typically housed their collections of other peoples’ objects in the archival storage material Plastazote®. This is a polymer derived from fossil fuel that has excellent stability and non-toxic qualities. The ubiquitous use of this non-biodegradable plastic in manufactured products meant that residues became concentrated into human tissues and eventually incorporated into the human genome. Another forever problem created in the Anthropocene.


During the Golden Age of Repatriation, museum objects were freed from the restrictive discourse of museum practice and re-entered the cycles of use and change as part of the ongoing cultural practices of their people. The emptied storage facilities were repurposed into permanent shelters for the expanded homeless, new nomads, and climate refugees. The great floods of the 2060’s, brought chaos to these already fragile and disrupted human lives.  In this submerged world,  the lightweight, buoyant Plastazote mounts, slowly revealed themselves, floating to the surface and becoming concentrated in floating rafts of debris. The durability and chemically stability of these mounts meant they were amongst the most enduring human material culture, and were greatly valued by Foragers.  

Humans became repositories for the materials, objects and storage systems that they had refined, produced and surrounded themselves with. In the words of Luigi Serafini we are all made of the dust of stars. ”Because the nuclei of all the atoms that make up our bodies were born in the cores of the dead stars many millions of years ago. I myself am a small temporary museum of dust”. Plastazote® is inescapable, the chewing gum that sticks to the trousers, and shows up in the handbag. Humans are the museums of Plastazote® and Plastazote® is anthropomorphised. 

[Serafini, L.,  2018. For a New Museum of Dust. In: Grau, D. Potential Museums.]

MB 2839.1 

Gravesen_PLastazote2_b.JPG

Curator

human, 53rd century

late-Anthropocene

 Past object mount and storage cushion

This kind of cushion made out of a type of compound foam material has been widely used in the museum practice during the early Anthropocene. In order to protect the fragile objects and display them against a conspicuous background, these cushions are used to protect and fix the objects when they are in storage, and mount the objects when they are on display.

 

After the economical popularisation of non-magnetic suspension technology and its extension into the museum sector in the mid to late 39th century, foam cushions have permanently stepped off the stage and can then only be found in museums, where they used to work as mounts rather than exhibits.

MB 2839.1 

Curator

human, 2300 C.E.

mid-Anthropocene

Curator

human, future

mid-Anthropocene

 Plastazote® mount

21st century

South Dakota, United States

This object is representative of the misunderstanding and miscommunications of curators across time. It is a Plastazote® mount, used by museum collections managers and conservators to store museum objects in. Clearly this material must have fallen out of favour in the future, warranting the misinterpretation by a future curator in believing that the mount is a museum object in itself.

MB 2839.1 

Curator

human, 2035 C.E.

early-Anthropocene

artist/creator

Gravesen_Plastazote2_c_g.jpg