Approaches to Sustainable Development in Contemporary Museology

Irene Campolmi


Sustainable development has become a leading value of the 21st century society. Throsby’s and Hutter’s recent studies on inter and intra-generational equity, diversity maintenance and interdependence have demonstrated that sustainability values promote a different perspective on cultural institutions. Particularly, they incite to reorganize the production and consumption patterns, and rethink about the construction of meanings in permanent displays. The paper wants to explore how sustainability principles are an approach to develop a “sustainable museology”, which cares about making visitors more critic and aware of the political, sociological, epistemological and cultural implications that lay behind the making of exhibitions. Museums undertaking a sustainable development of their narrative making processes overpass the Foucauldian idea of art museums as heterotopy, (space of otherness), and approach that of archétopy. This model offers rooms to rethink about narratives as stakeholders’ collective processes capable to “meet the needs of the present without compromising those of the future generations”, as stated in the “Brundtland Commision” Report of 1987. The last display done by the Berlin Neue Nationalgalerie is analysed as a case-study for archétopy.

Il paper analizza il concetto di sostenibilità nelle politiche governative dei musei d’arte. Lo studio osserva tale valore da un punto di vista sia teorico che pratico e cita l’esempio dei grandi musei europei, facendo più volte riferimento al caso della Tate Modern di Londra. Se da un lato l’argomento è esplicitamente collegato ai musei d’arte in quanto essi operano per la sostenibilità del bene comune, dall’altro i musei europei hanno basato le proprie politiche culturali adottando il così detto approccio “three bottom” già intrapreso dalle grandi aziende e dalle business companies. Tale approccio si basa sull’elaborazione di politiche attente alla sostenibilità ambientale, economica e sociale che i musei scelgono di adottare per incrementare i propri finanziamenti. Ne risulta che l’attenzione alla sostenibilità delle politiche governative di un museo è legata a questioni economiche piuttosto che culturali. Tuttavia, la sostenibilità delle politiche culturali nei musei d’arte moderna risiede non solo nel seguire strategie economiche e ambientali, ma principalmente nel creare iniziative che offrano nuove prospettive curatoriali e idee manageriali. Il modello di museo attento alla sostenibilità delle proprie politiche oltrepassa la nozione foucauldiana che il museo d’arte sia “eterotopia”, e cioè spazio dove l’arte viene presentata come un fenomeno che accade lontano dalla realtà. Al contrario, tale modello agisce come “archetopia”, ovvero come luogo in cui l’elaborazione di decisioni, narrative e significati legati alla collezione e alla storia dell’arte coinvolge tutti gli stakeholders (curatori, visitatori e trustees) sin dal principio (archè) del processo creativo.

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