Knowledge Space(s) of Globalisation

How does globalisation fit into the museum space? Which spatial imaginaries are enacted and how can art-based methodologies help to criticise and modify the museal knowledge spaces of globalisation? These are the key questions addressed in this ongoing PhD project.

Research object and cooperation partner is the future German Port Museum in Hamburg.

Building on the ethnographic inquiry of the Port Museum’s planning process and leaning on material-semiotic concepts of space and knowledge, a collection of artefacts and media recordings is initiated in order to include the perspectives of seafarers into the museum’s formation. Combining elements from the PABR formats Creating a Media Device, One-on-One Encounter and Performative Collection, it is aimed to render seafarers as co-collectors and hence to reflect on the museum’s epistemological authority.

In moving cargo through the global spaces of logistics, seafarers play key roles in the process of globalisation while being widely ignored in public discourse. Their own freedom of movement, unlike that of the containers they ship, is radically restricted by international security protocols, national border protection and corporate policy, leaving them with only very limited means of participation and articulation inside the space of globalisation they help to produce. This discrepancy between the limitless freedom of things and the harshly restricted freedom of people is reflected on, exploring ways to mediate it into the museum space and hence implementing a counterlogistical critique into the Port Museum’s spatio-epistemic configuration.

Melcher Ruhkopf studied Culture, Arts and Media at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Metropolitan Culture at HafenCity University Hamburg. He is part of PABR as a PhD student, holding a scholarship from the Claussen-Simon-Foundation. His research interests group around the entanglement of space and knowledge as well as critical studies of discourse and subjectivation.