The objects in that cupboard have lain forgotten for decades by everyone except the generations of curators we appoint to carefully label our ignorance. Now let’s read the labels. Or who will miss them if they disappear? Who took them in the first place? And from whom? Are they the residues of raped villages or diplomatic banquets? No one knows. Who cares?
The ordinary paraphernalia, the tools and toys of people going about their lives, have been taken away from their context and preserved in an alien one. Perhaps stolen, perhaps given as gifts. To what end? Who do they belong to now? Have we made them into sacred objects by accident? What spirits do they represent for us? Or are we completely blind to the ideologies they embody? Do we really believe we are completely objective, driven by truth and pure knowledge, as was the Imperial machine that collected these things and then forgot about them? Is our memory so weak? Are we the senile dotage of Imperial might?
Let’s give away our swag and make a clean start.
These questions might seem impudent in relation to roomfuls of lost property. But do they seem absurd when applied to a handful of scum in a ditch…?
Here are some diatoms I will burn. Plenty more where they came from.