Tropical Dissonance: Decolonizing knowledge through ethnographic archives

The Research Center for Material Culture together with the research platform Heterotropics are pleased to invite you to the symposium Tropical Dissonance: Decolonizing knowledge through ethnographic archives. The symposium is organized by the research collective KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) as a concluding event of their residency project at the Tropenmuseum.

Tropical Dissonance brings together scholars, curators and artists from a wide range of practices to explore the intersections between decolonial research, artistic practices and alternative knowledge production. Focusing on the use of ethnographic objects, or more broadly colonial archives in imperial and post imperial knowledge formation, we want to explore the multiple, often hidden, fractured legacies of this colonial past in the present and its impact on how we understand the world today.

The contributors of this symposium will discuss various methodologies of studying colonial archives and epistemologies, through different sensorial approaches and experiences.

During the symposium speakers will address questions such as:

If to study is understood as a practice of reflection that involves the interplay between learning and unlearning, what are the modes of study that we can utilize to better understand colonial pasts in the present? What modes of learning or unlearning should we employ to achieve a decolonial practice?
How can we reclaim and reconfigure the ambivalence of colonial desire in its attempts to both “civilize” and “appropriate” otherness through representational economies of education, collection, dispossession and exhibition?
How can we activate the ruins of ethnographic and archival gaze as a means to reorganize knowledge circulations between the tropics and the metropolis from the inside out?
How do these shifting relationships affect the material life of objects (collection, commodity, archive, artefact) and practices of mediation (language, aesthetics, research)?
The symposium will start with a conversation between KUNCI and Wayne Modest (Head of the Research Center for Material Culture, which takes as a point of departure, KUNCI’s observations, findings and questions generated over the six weeks of the residency.

11:00 – 12:00
KUNCI in conversation with Wayne Modest
Tropenmuseum Studio

13:00 – 16:00
Tropenmuseum Studio

The whole program will be broadcasted live on Radio Kunci (

Confirmed Speakers
Paul Bijl (University of Amsterdam/KITLV)
Carolyn Birdsall (University of Amsterdam)
Adam Bobbette (University of Cambridge)
Sara Giannini (semiotician and independent curator)
KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (research artists collective)
Wim Manuhutu (independent researcher and curator)
Wendelien van Oldenborgh (visual artist)
Pamela Pattynama (University of Amsterdam)
Pim Westerkamp (curator Southeast Asia, Tropenmuseum/National Museum of World Cultures)
If you wish to attend this event, please register at this link . Due to a limited number of seats, reservation is mandatory.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – 11:00 to 16:00
Tropenmuseum Studio, Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam
Students (in art, anthropology, material culture studies, museum studies, colonial history); museum professionals; academics; artists

Geplaatst in Extern nieuws.