The productive imagination of (new) M&Ms and CGIs: the politics of augmented realities, embodiment and translations


Marc Jacobs | VUB, UNESCO chair on critical heritage studies and the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage and FARO. Flemish Interface for cultural heritage (BE)

Museums are, like archives, in the first place and in the long run, Memory institutions. As Diana Taylor explained, intangible cultural heritages are phenomena for which embodied memories matter. A question of repertoires rather than archival institutions, but also the performance in arenas, a process where, as Article 15 of the UNESCO 2003 Convention prescribes, communities, groups and sometimes even individuals (CGIs) are the soft main gladiators. M&Ms on the one hand and CGIs and heritage in living bodies on the other hand: 'never the twain shall meet'?  But why not take the full advantage of the Ctrl-Alt-Delete attempt that the 2003 UNESCO Convention also was and of the liminal, rather than just public, contact zone that a museum also can offer, to paraphrase R. Kipling again: 'But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two actors stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!' Let us not take concepts as public space and community for granted and rethink them and experiment with the powers of translation and of augmented reality via museums, the network dimension in the CGIs, and, taking care of the responsibilities for memory and transmission issues, of a sufficiently productive notion of 'safeguarding'.