Postscripts to the Storytellers’ Complaint
More debate amongst the Museum of Marco Polo staff on the role of stories in museum-making; and specifically, what happens when we try to take the over-arching narrative out of the museum. So, two after-thoughts.
The first is that if we group objects together visitors automatically assume that they are connected and accordingly will invent a narrative that links them together. It’s the same process that makes film a story-telling medium: when a number of images unfold, one after another, the viewer assumes they are telling one story. This happens regardless of the musem-makers’ intentions. Visitors, it seems, want a big story.
Secondly, there is a quote from ‘The Rehearsal’ by Jean Anouilh, the 20th century French dramatist, which goes as follows –
‘Life is very nice but it has no shape. The purpose of art is to give it some.’ (Jean Anouilh)
I thought it said it all.