Looking back at Conserving “Us:” Caring for Living Heritage, Oral Tradition and Indigenous Knowledge —  A Conversation with Brandie Macdonald

What does it take to care for living heritage and indigenous knowledge? What does it mean to conserve oral tradition or spiritual performance? How can museums become a space for engaging with living objects, and how to approach these through a decolonial lens? Our research team invited Brandie Macdonald, Chickasaw Nation/Choctaw Nation, senior Director of Decolonializing Initiatives at the San Diego Museum of Us to present her work and discuss these questions within the Thursday Lecture series organized at the Bern Academy of the Arts. In what follows, Emilie Magnin shares some reflections about the event.

Conserving Ourselves, Creating Ourselves

When we endeavor to preserve a work of art, what are we preserving? What does it mean to preserve, and how can an artwork be grasped in the context of its preservation? What is the difference between the preservation of a traditional artwork and the preservation of performance? How much is any work of art a creature of its context? In the following, I am thinking with, and through, the ideas of Alva Noë, a philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.