hans_ulrich_obrist's picture
Curator, Serpentine Gallery, London; Editor: A Brief History of Curating; Formulas for Now; Co-author (with Rem Koolhas), Project Japan: Metabolism Talks
The question of objects

The 20th century has been obsessed with this idea of the objects and hopes of architectural and artistic permanence which nobody questionned more thouroughly than the late Cedric Price. The 21st century will increasingly question this fetishization of the object.

What are the architectural and artistic contributions which are going to endure they are not only the ones which have a built physical form. Its not only a question of objects but a questions of ideas and scores.

In a converation I had with her some months ago Doris Lessing questionned the future of museums. It's not that she's fundamentally opposed to these institutions, but she's worried that their prioritisation of material objects from the past may not be enough to convey functional meaning to tomorrow's generations. Her 1999 novel, Mara and Dann, is premised on the aftermath of an ice age thousands of years into the future that has eradicated the entirety of life in the northern hemisphere. Her protagonists, long since confined to the other side of the globe, embark upon a journey but they are at a loss with the cultural remnants; they have no grounding in its *artefacts and cities.

This is pure fiction, but she is nevertheless reticent that 'our entire culture is extremely fragile' In light of point, Lessing urges us to take pause and to reconsider the capacity of our language and cultural systems to proffer knowledge to those outside of our immediate public.