Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wild Thoughts

While situating myself on a non-working Sunday, I visited the new musée du quai Branly, which is devoted to the art and ritual culture of non-European populations. In conjunction with the Rugby World Cup, they had a series of special expositions, lectures, and performances on the theme of "La mêlée des cultures." As someone who wrote one of my first published pieces on Claude Lévi-Strauss (who wrote a nice note about my biographical essay on him) and who has been following the resurgence of structuralism in the scholarly communities that study games, hypertext, and computer animation, I noted that a large portion of the building was named after the famed French anthropologist. Strolling around exhibits about Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas, I noticed how unusually attentive museum designers were to the soundscape that visitors would inhabit. This acknowledgement of auditory culture is still relatively rare in art curation but it is increasingly part of museum-going. The mood was also set by a son et lumière work by Trinh Minh Ha.

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