Rolando Minuti, “Provence africaine”. Natural Science and Ideology of the Mediterranean

By |2020-10-22T09:53:40+00:00October 22nd, 2020|Visual Reflections|

In his reports, in the Annales du Museum national d'histoire naturelle (1802), of the results of his zoological research following Bonaparte's expedition in Egypt, there was no hiding Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire’s great satisfaction. The mere discovery of the Polypterus bichir, he wrote, "would make up for all the effort that a long-distance journey usually entails." It was indeed an important discovery, one of several made by Geoffroy during his scientific journey. The study of the anatomy of this unique fish gave a substantial contribution to his thesis about the anatomic evolution of the species; it was also particularly interesting as living evidence of the ancient Egyptians’ "fish of the Nile", whose theogony Geoffroy investigated in another memoir in the same year. (Fig. 1) But there was also another and more general reason for Geoffroy's enthusiasm in describing his zoological discovery. In effect, these discoveries were also a great relief, if we are to reflect on what had happened to other natural scientists, mainly botanists, who had performed painstaking research in Egypt to look for new species to add to the universal [...]

Beatrice Falcucci, Omar Al-Mukhtar’s Glasses: A Modern Relic

By |2020-10-22T09:44:05+00:00October 22nd, 2020|Visual Reflections|

The aim of this brief document is to draw attention not only to totemic, highly symbolic objects and curiosa as three-dimensional evidence, but also to value hoaxes, forgeries and copies, which can be as interesting for researchers as the originals themselves, since, as Schlebecker (1977) pointed out, a replica can sometimes effectively substitute the “real thing”. Starting from Omar Al Mukthar's glasses (with which he was typically portrayed), stored in the warehouse housing the former Museo Coloniale of Rome, I will consider their “appearances” (in museums and shops) and evocations (on paper, in movies) in different contexts and scenarios, as they multiply like a modern-day relic. This short piece will also contribute to highlighting the extent to which the flow of (real or presumed) objects across the Mediterranean is deeply entangled in empire-building, nationalist reactions and postcolonial contestations. Omar Al-Mukhtar (18581931) is known as the martyr who sacrificed his life while trying to free Libya from Italian colonialism. On 3 October 1911, as the Italians bombarded Tripoli in the first act of what was to be known as the Italo-Turkish [...]

Get Involved and Get Funded!

By |2020-10-22T09:45:29+00:00October 22nd, 2020|Newsletters|

The PIMo team are delighted to draw your attention to a number of exciting opportunities to get involved in our activities and to secure financial support from the network. Please share these calls for applications widely. 1. Training School. El Museo Canario, 24-27 February 2021: Deadline 15 November 2020. The first PIMo Training School, on the topic of Diasporic Communities in the Mediterranean: Between Integration and Disintegration, aims to explore the “visible and invisible networks” between cultures in the Mediterranean area, from the fifteenth century to the present and to show the ways such connections were (and are) artificially separated by ideological and literal borders. Its main objective is to offer an opportunity for research development, training and exchange of ideas for PhD and postdoctoral students working in the fields of Mediterranean Studies, Migration Studies, Cultural Transfers and History of Emotions. Full details of the application process, eligibility requirements and the proposed programme are available here. Please share with doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. 2. Short Term Scientific Missions: Deadline December 05 2020. This scheme supports individual mobility, institutional visits, and collaboration between individual scholars [...]

Kader Attia’s ‘La Mer Morte’

By |2020-10-02T13:21:24+00:00October 2nd, 2020|PIMo Conversations|

Kader Attia was born in 1970 to Algerian parents in a suburb north of Paris. Now working in Berlin and Paris, he draws on the experience of living in two cultures as the basis for his artistic practice. Attia is not only an artist but also an activist. Until recently, he ran a discourse and exchange platform in Paris, in which people from a wide range of cultures and social backgrounds participated. Attia has been concerned with Europe’s colonial past and its after-effects for many years. The interplay between modern architecture and the history of colonialism is strikingly symbolized by the large sculpture ‘Indépendance Tchao’ (2014), which references the now-abandoned 1960s ‘Hôtel de l’Indépendance’ in Dakar. It is made out of old metal filing boxes used by the French colonial police in Algeria during the war of independence to collate information on the rebels. In his new video installation ‘The Object’s Interlacing’ (2020), which Attia has created specially for the Kunsthaus Zürich, he addresses the much-debated topical issue of ‘restitution’ of non-Western, especially African artefacts. The work is an attempt [...]