Beyond the Rational Museum: Toward a Discourse of Inclusion

By Janice Baker.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Museum discourse is not inclusive in that it neglects or negates the affective potential of museums. Affect is precognitive sensation, it is unexpected, and leaves a more lasting impression than re-cognition. The museum’s role in the shaping of histories, and its origins in class and gender exploitation are important areas of discourse, however, the focus on these issues also limits discourse. Ideologically driven critique seems unable to explain the experiential affect of exhibits of art and material culture. Arguably, an alternative museum with a contradictory set of meanings has always existed alongside the rational museum of critical discourse. Some critics do acknowledge that their disciplines seem unable to grapple with this ‘alternative museum’, however, there is not a critical vocabulary of affect with which to give it appropriate expression. Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical ideas give relevance to affect, and are useful in shaping or ‘shocking’ a way toward a more inclusive critical discourse, which might lead toward more inclusive museum practices.

Keywords: Affect, Museum Discourse, Deleuze

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.23-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 549.709KB).

Janice Baker

PhD Candidate (Cultural Heritage), School of Built Environment, Art and Design, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Janice Baker is an art curator and writer, and currently a PhD candidate in Cultural Heritage at Curtin University. Her theoretical research involves imagining museums from a Deleuzian perspective, and particularly engaging with museum objects through Deleuze’s philosophy of the cinematic image. Janice’s main curatorial projects have been at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at the University of Western Australia.


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