Jointly developed by M HKA and the KU Leuven, this long-term, interdisciplinary research project focuses on a specific, yet complex body of work; multifaceted and variably installable, unfinished and open-ended: Ship of Fools / The Dockers' Museum (2010-2013) by artist and theorist Allan Sekula (1951-2013). Informed by the research of the team members, the project continues to evolve in a succession of research outputs, such as this digital platform.


(c)videostill: M HKA
Lecture at Emily Carr University, Vancouver, 25 October 2012

“Lecture at Emily Carr University,” Vancouver, 25 October 2012:11

With Broodthaers, there’s a kind of way that the structures of his […] “Musée des Aigles” is seen as a deductive precondition for all the induced, empirical contents. It’s as if the category existed in the abstract and then he fleshed it out with these iterations of the iconography, or the motif, of the eagle. But I think, because he’s Belgian, he’s more playful than that, and that the relation between the inductive and deductive level in his work is rather more complex. But it lead me to think that Broodthaers’ project is in fact driven by these categories, that are the kind of “mock-museological” categories. And then in a very wide way, he puts certain very specific content in — so the eagle carries with it all of its imperial associations. He allows all these iterations and ramifications to sort of flesh out this quasi-curatorial category. But I was thinking: ‘What if the objects themselves have a kind of insistence, quite independently of any abstract category that you might fit them in to?’ That is: ‘What if we imagined a museum where the abstract framing categories, these sort of archival systems for sorting out which objects went where, were checked by the immediacy of the objects?’ So the object could spin its own yarn, as it were.

Excerpt from Jeroen Verbeeck, “Allan Sekula’s ‘Bureau of Mines:’ A Possible Reader”, in Nicola Setari and Hilde Van Gelder (eds), Allan Sekula Mining Section (Bureau des Mines). Collaborative Notes (Ghent: AraMER, 2016): pp. 50-58.

Watch the lecture here.