Well, it’s midnight and we seem to have reached an elegant outcome without recourse to the crude, mechanical device of a ballot. All those who have expressed a view seem to think that I should be removed from the museum collection, repatriated, and rendered into the safe keeping of Barley Rose. If anyone has a different idea please come forward. As I have said, you will need to be supported by at least two others.
Otherwise, perhaps we can move on to consider the disposal of the rest of the objects.
Although I will be leaving the Tower, there is no need for tearful goodbyes. By the magic of cyberspace I will still be here! This debate should continue until the final face-to-face meeting which is scheduled for 3rd September. I will also be continuing to post my thoughts until then, as a hermit out in the wild.
One decision has been arrived at quite easily. So please let us now focus in more detail on the 40 remaining objects. If you feel strongly about an object you will have to attract the support of at least two other people. And if you agree with someone else’s claim please say so. As Gunter Grass said, ‘The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open.’
I imagine we will be able to arrive quite easily at a consensus on each object. It is in the absence of an explicit consensus that the Earth is raped, pillaged and slaughtered.
Many of the objects are simply markers for much larger collective thinking that needs to happen. For example, should the museum keep a beehive? Or make more space for sparrows in its grounds? And more importantly, how will you personally follow that thinking through into action?
Many of the objects might reveal themselves through comparison. How exactly is that first skull I showed different from this last one on which my face is arranged? Do we feel the same way about a tooth as a skull? What’s the difference? And why is it so different if it belonged to a human or another animal? Will we one day look back on our treatment of earwig families in the same way as we now look back on our treatment of Aboriginal Tasmanian families? This is an invitation to examine opinions that we may imagine to be beyond question, or which we’ve never bothered to examine.
This is also an invitation to think collaboratively and transparently. If a mutual agreement on any object is not forthcoming and opinion is sufficiently polarized, then there will be a vote, and the matter will be finally discussed in person on 3rd September.
Of course, if no one speaks up or is willing to care for an object then it will disappear or turn into something else. This was happening before I turned up and it will go on afterwards.
Please bear in mind that my purpose from the beginning has been to reveal and explain our personal implication in the value of some of the things kept here.
All memory must be exercised. If we do not remember what we know then we may as well not know it. We then act in ignorance.
If a museum is a collective memory it must be exercised collectively. Every collection has to be occasionally recollected.
I hope that by my provocation I have reminded us of some common knowledge, and perhaps even stirred up some uncommon knowledge.
This effort will be wasted, however, unless it leads to action. Only in making an active choice is something really valued, made sacred. I have dedicated my whole self.
What will you sacrifice?