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Eternal, impossible, returns: variations on the theme of dislocation

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n 1994 Homi K. Bhabha published The Location of Culture; twenty years on cultures seems to be increasingly dislocated. With a particular focus on cultural heritage, this paper will explore some of the spatial and temporal dynamics of the dislocation. Thinking about cultural heritage in its material manifestations often comes accompanied with a sense that there are dangers from which it needs to be protected: deterioration, decay, destruction, and displacement. Responses to these dangers are posited as parallel reactions: restoration, conservation, and repatriation. Most of these approaches imply the existence of an original state that can be returned to: maintaining or restoring an object to its 'authentic' state or repatriating it to its place of origin. This underlying aspiration for return shapes media narratives, professional choices, policy decisions, and relationships between institutions, peoples, and countries. Yet return is never possible. Looking at different manifestations of displacement and destruction, this paper explores the idea of return, by reflecting on the artistic work of Julie Gough and in particular of her work The Lost World (part 2) exhibited in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology of the University of Cambridge (23 October – 30 November 2013) and curated by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll.



Eternal, impossible, returns: variations on the theme of dislocation


Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll

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The Importance of Being Anachronistic: Contemporary Aboriginal Art and Museum Reparations' N

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Disipline and Third Text Publications

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British Academy (PDF/pf110108)