Between 18 and 19 November 2023, the X-Student Research Group ‘Non-normative relations wanted: Testing queer methods at the Berlin Ethnological Museum’ (Berlin University Alliance) showcases queer(ing) interventions in a pop-up exhibition at the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin in Humboldt Forum. Led by anthropologist Dr. Isabel Bredenbröker (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), the group investigated how relations around objects in ethnographic collections can be understood and what kind of non-normative relations these may be enmeshed in. Discussing texts from queer theory, the anthropology of kinship, museum studies, and the anthropology of art, the seminar opened a space for speculative thought, inviting participants to propose approaches, artworks, talks, methods and ideas that productively highlight queer relations around ethnographic collection objects. Paired with hands-on research at the museum and conversations with museum staff, the seminar offered a laboratory for creative approaches to the museum environment, informed by empirical and ethnographic engagement with the museum.
In our pop up exhibition Non-normative relations wanted!, we are presenting nine projects of participants that emerged from our collaborative research over the course of the summer term. The presentation creates a two-day intimate space for exchange, experimentation, thought, and conversation. We will activate the exhibition of the Ethnological Museum in the Humboldt Forum and we are inviting students, academic colleagues, museum practitioners and the wider public to join us. Over the course of the weekend, we exhibit some works such as different installations, sound works, guided tours and performances, among them for example an interactive map collecting links between objects by responses from visitors, an experimental tour format that recovers traces of the Prussian Kunstkammer, and conversations on topics such as queering strategies in the museum and how these can be developed further.