When The Museum Is Closed

Mårten Spångberg

What do we do when the museum is closed?

Can the museum be used in ways it’s not prepared for?

Does the museum carry resources that falls outside its expectations?

Can the museum as a hegemonic site of power be circumvented?

Does the museum necessarily perpetuate toxic ecologies?

Can the museum be used to generate agency?

Can the museum be fun?

Can the museum change what fun is?

In Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Bande à part” the three protagonists run through the Louvre in record time? Nine minutes forty-three seconds.

In the remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair,” Pierce Brosnan stages the entire Met as a Magritte painting. Completely indecent, but so much fun.

In “Night at the Museum”, with Ben Stiller, the entire museum comes alive after closing hours.

As the Belgian artist and critic Henri Michaux answered when asked when the paintings of the Louvre are at their best: Obviously, when the museum is closed.

Recently the British philosopher Julian Reid proposed that “the museum as we know it was invented at the end of the 18th century. It goes without saying that it’s a badly disguised celebration of racial, sexual, gender, class, geographic and so on inequalities, not to mention a bastion protecting liberal, capitalist and ecologically unacceptable forms of life. In fact, the aesthetic regime that governs our appreciation of art proposes an extremely repressive human-centric understanding of the world.”

This Labzone is a hands-on investigation into the museum, skipping over institutional critique in favour of fun, whimsical, double standard, personal engagement and more fun. It is a Labzone where we after the pandemic let of steam and take action rather than waiting for an invitation, starting with a mapping of the unused resources of the museum, resources that might just be hidden away because they don’t consolidate the museum’s power structures.

As a paradoxical embrace, we will end the year with the making and realisation of an exhibition. Exactly – an exhibition.