MUSEUM ON THE COUCH: Reflexive and creative explorations in anthropology

Student works kopf1

12 January to 17 January 2016
Opening: Tuesday 12 January 2016 at 5 PM

An exploratory tour in the permanent exhibition in 6 steps,
an itinerary conceived by the ethnology students of the Institut für Ethnologie, Leipzig.
6 installations / 6 theoretic questions / 6 important insights

The student proposals are identifiable with this red spot.

All are welcome!

6 installations / 6 theoretic questions / 6 important insights



House of Spirits - Your Ancestors are Calling

At least by now that humans are the most influential factor on the planet, we are so deeply intertwined with nature, that we inevitably are linked together. Under this light, the performative installation of 'House of Spirits' is the attempt to transpose this new found unity of nature and culture into the museum. In consequence, this interconnection updates our understanding of modernity. The installation invites the visitor to leave his individual physical and mental boundaries behind, to connect himself with his environment. Situated in the GRASSI Museum, it transforms the ethnological museum into a space where (cultural)history comes into being, is evolving and not only referred to. The single reception in the tent, where the visitor will be guides through, creates an favourable environment of mental clarity which in return makes the visitor unexpectedly receptive to occurrences outside of his daily consciousness. He will be connected with his environment in a way that touches the field of animism. It carries through relations that understand humans as related to inert substances, objects or living beings while according considering them as actors. Hence, the divide between object and subject becomes permeable. Where the self is the result of negotiations of relations comes up the question if the experiences it makes are his own or if he's animated through them.

Clarisse Destailleur and Judith de Santis



The Color Project

The starting point of this little intervention is the idea of color as a powerful means of museal display. Color is dumb but thanks to long-established stereotypes and pictures of non-western cultures, color becomes an informant. Color tells quite a lot about the origin, the production and the use of an object. The colors we choose to give form to a museal display is not as neutral as we might think. Through a simple play of colors it becomes possible to make visible the effect of color in ethnographic museums. The aim was to create a wordless critique of color in ethnographic museums. It is at first a try to identify hidden power relations in traditional exhibition designs and second an attempt to take them up and to beat them in their own game.

Katharina Wischer



The Hanuman Temple – a multisensorial experience

We all associate specific places with particular smells, sounds, tastes and images. This installation is the attempt to reconstruct such an experience. The project picks up the problematic of ethnological museums focusing over all on the visual presentation of objects and topics. It points to the long neglected importance of multisensorial perception which is the fundament of profund understanding, in that it makes this cognitive process to an emocional experience.



The spices of India – olfactory associations

When you are smelling cinnamon, clove and cardamom, what ideas come to your mind? With this installation we want to point out to the significance of olfactory perception. Within the atmosphere of an indian roundhouse we want to send you, by means of your senses of smell, on a journey into German cuisine. In this way we want to indicate the interconnectivity and hybridity of all cultures and illustrate that authenticity is a social construct.



A Plastic Culture

We offer you this global seat and want to invite you to make a trip through front gardens, beach cottages, mountain landscpapes and large cities. The materiality of plastic chairs contrasted strongly with those of the most regional specific objects, which are presented in the showcases of the museum. However today plastic objects are used in every part of the globe, in the most distant corner of the world. So, are there an „Plastic Culture" or cultures of plastic? We think yes, because global items like plastic chairs become culturally appropriated. This is visible in the regional preferences for specific forms and colours.

Antje Velasquez and Dipika Nadkami



Inside-Out. Ideal objects in packaging

Exhibits arrive wrapped. They are stored air-conditionedly. A large part of the objects is not visible in the museum, while after purchase indeed receiving grants of archival storage. This installation seeks to retrace the effort expended. Hence it showcases the objects invisible and resents their packaging and estimated - symbolic - monetary value.

Bastian Gottschling und Simon Stoeckle


Annette Veit
 Tel + 49 341 97 37 220
Fax + 49 341 97 37 229
Office Hours:
10 am - 11 am
1 pm - 2 pm


Ursula Rao
 +49 341 97 37 221
Institut für Ethnologie
Schillerstraße 6
04109 Leipzig