This is not (just) a pipe: an epistemological reflection on the nature of (UCL ethnographic) collections.

Written by Myriam Perrot

I have been volunteering at the ethnographic collections at UCL during my
Masters in anthropology (Material and Visual Culture) in 2014-2015. During
the autumn term I attended a course delivered by one of the curators of the
ethnographic collections, Haidy Geismar. This course explored questions
related to the ways shifts in technology affect the type of knowledge produced
in museums.

One of the course’s assignments consisted in testing out those questions
practically, through developing a digital collection out of a certain number of
objects chosen from UCL collections.
I decided to elaborate on my project from the first hand experience I gathered
from volunteering at the ethnographic collections.

I conducted an empirical research through the use of cinematographic
devices and organised my collection on a digital platform. In doing so, I aimed
to propose a reflexive consideration of the collection’s boundaries.
My constitution of a digital collection serves as a commentary on both the
ontology of the museum object (in that case the ‘ethnographic’ object) and
the nature of classificatory systems and conservatory practices. Hence, how
the rationale underlying certain types of knowledge and classifications
participates in the nature of the first.

Click here to discover Myriam’s project.