Who am I? How has my background shaped me? Most people answer questions about their own identity with their belonging to a culture or nationality. Thus they automatically differentiate themselves from other cultures. But what happens if the apparently “familiar” has its origin on the other side of the world? Or the “alien” has in fact originated in one’s own culture? The new exhibition “WeltKultur / Global Culture” invites visitors to consider cultural commonalities and the clichés about “the others”.
A new understanding of history
The innovative concept of this exhibition is a contribution to the current sociopolitical debates on culture and integration. Unlike the usual museum concepts, which show cultures as autonomic islands, the Badische Landesmuseum follows a different understanding of culture: It shows the cyclical course of history, which is like an upward spiral. At the cultural highpoint of a world area, it stops for a brief moment to allow others to participate in new developments. One example for this is the religious practices since ancient times. For example, the apparently Christian prayer beads, known as the rosary, are also found in Hinduism, Buddhism and even in Islam. These comparisons of cultural acquirements from various parts of the world confirm that people have always influenced each other and that cultures enter twined.
A one world culture
The title of the Department, which assumes the phenomenon of a one world-encompassing culture, is also understood in this connection. In all cultures, encounters with strangers led to incorporation of alien artefacts which were then transformed into something that “belonged”. The reception of the alien often even returns to its original site of creation, where it again undergoes change. Phenomena like the appearance of an orient mode and neo-orientalism in the West after 9/11 make this clear, as does the birth of orientalism in the Orient itself.
A new historical consciousness
The exhibition not only compares European and extra-European cultures, but also focuses on the role of mediating cultures. Thus it delivers new foundations for understanding cultures and gives an impulse to rethink the usual culture-scientific, historical and political points of view. In this, the Badische Landesmuseum is one of the few museums worldwide that strive to achieve a new historical consciousness by comparing and thematizing cultural diversity and transcultural interconnectedness. Sensitization for cultural communalities, breaking down of prejudices and confrontation with one’s own identity are thus the goals of this exhibition.
Stories of individual People
Following the impetus of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Orhan Pamuk, who wants a museum which presents “the story of individual people”, the exhibition prives a lively forum for exchange among people of various nationalities: home, identity and their variability are the topics realized with the energetic support of migrants. The beginning of year one is made by the Spanish-born Ana Maria Rios Garcia with a project on “Citizen of the World”
The items on exhibit
In addition to the world-famous Türkenbeute, the Badische Landesmuseum owns two other important historical collections with “extra-European” origin. These comprise about 3,700 items from the Near, Middle and Far East, and North Africa. In recent years, several outstanding pieces of modern art have been added to these collections. These objects were excluded from public viewing for a long time. These unique items now form the foundation of “WeltKultur / Clobal Culture”, the newest permanent exhibition in the Castle.