Do objects belong in the museum?

2021 / school project

Have you ever thought about the memories and feelings that objects might have? In Japanese folklore, tsukumogami are tools that reached its 100th birthday and thus became alive and self-aware. According to this folklore, most of the objects in a museum can be a tsukumogami, can’t they?

In the Rijksmuseum, there are a lot of objects which are originally made for use. Are they happy being there while remaining unused?

The Japanese tea bowl seems unhappy about losing its characteristics without use. The piano feels jealous of the Stradivarius since they are still being played. The Banjarmasin Diamond is uncomfortable being in the center of many discussions. On the other hand, the clock seems so happy being there with a function. Apparently, each object has different feelings. Let’s hear the stories they want to talk about with you through an audio guide.

Do you think the museum is the best place to be for all objects?


My starting point was a Japanese tea bowl from Hagi. What interested me most about Hagi ware is that it is actually famous for its color changes over time by being used.Then I found it very ironic that these characteristics can not be seen anymore since it’s in the museum. In that sense, a museum is a freezer for objects.
So I started thinking that maybe museums are not the best place to be in for all objects and could it be that some objects are unhappy being there?
That was how I reached my design question, which is: does every object belong in the museum?
To raise this question, I choose an audio guide as the medium and decided to let the objects themselves speak. It was a very natural idea for me since in Japan we have this folklore called tsukumogami. By letting them speak, I think people can empathize with the objects more easily.


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