Insignificants in June will be the final event in the Insignificants exhibition series. By and large, the University of Copenhagen is still in a lockdown, so you will need to provide your own drinks and salt sticks for the opening of June’s exhibition.
However, I have been granted special permission by The Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, to host a finissage on June 18th at 3pm, marking the end of Insignificants. This will be an open-air event, taking place on Amager Fælled, where I invite you to come along to bid Insignificants farewell (or just take advantage of the free drinks).
If you would like to participate in this event, please let me know by email (klq302 [at] hum.ku.dk) no later than June 11th. Then, I will forward details about the precise location of the event.
Needless to say, the finissage will take place in accordance with the regulations imposed by the authorities with regards to size limits for group gatherings in public settings, spatial distancing, hand hygiene and so forth.
About Insignificants in June
In medias res will be the last exhibition in the Insignificants series. The exhibition consists of incidental items from each of the eleven preceding exhibitions from June 2019 through May 2020. In medias res is, at the same time, a way of wrapping up and carrying on, continuing the exploration into the question whether enduring insignificance is possible.
The items included in June’s montage are as follows:
1. Bone fragment (San Fransisco; donation)
2. Snuff box (Boön; incidental collection)
3. Laughing gas canisters (the streets of Copenhagen; semi-unstructured collection)
4. Glass shards (Holmegaard Glassworks; semi-unstructured collection)
5. Soil sample (Unknown location; donation)
6. Christmas decoration, artificial tree (Unknown location; donation)
7. Keys (Islands Brygge, the drawer in my bedside table; leftovers)
8. Lithics (South Africa; excavated material, donation)
9. Burnt cotton (Islands Brygge; produced for the event)
10. Knitted sock, deflated balloon, piece of asphalt (Nørre Asmindrup elementary school; incidental collection)
11. Flattened beer can (Refshaleøen, Copenhagen; incidental collection)
This might offer the impression that In medias res is a instrument for looking back, evaluating the previous exhibitions in hindsight, or selecting the “greatest hits” amongst Insignificants. However, I have no such intention. Rather, I want to stage a montage of unrelated things, objects that have nothing to do with each other as they were either collected randomly by me or arrived on my doorstep as donations. In this way, they have already begun a process of vanishing from their past relations, and I would like to offer them a chance to shed their biographies once and for all, entering a state of sustainable insignificance.
Whether lasting insignificance is possible is probably too soon to tell, and I suggest the value of In medias res will have to be appraised later on, perhaps a year from now, or in ten year’s time. Or, maybe, I need to possess myself in patience in the genuinely long term. The oldest objects in the montage are the lithics – stone fragments, made of silcrete – worked by humans some 25.000 years ago, so perhaps we should let the montage rest for another 25.000 years, and let future archaeologists (or whoever will be tasked with the study of insignificant stuff in the distant future) judge whether the objects are capable of disentangling themselves from their pasts. Then again, why set a date of 25.000 years, hinging on the arbitrary figure of the human? Actually, the silcrete stones were formed by geological processes much earlier, during the Mesozoic Era, roughly between 252 and 66 million years ago. So, maybe this is how long we should allow In medias res to rest, before taking stock of its significance or lack thereof. – Well, I do not seem to be able to make up my mind. When traversing insignificance, hesitation and doubt are of the essence, I suppose.
The method I have selected for dithering, for keeping myself dangling, is to bury In medias res in the ground. This act should not be confused with a wholesale ceremonial burial of insignificance. The objects I put in the ground are not symbolic or representative of something outside themselves: Insignificants are particular to themselves – useless exceptions, relieved of the burden of culture-historical narratives and of having to justify their own existence. The burial of In medias res is intended to work as a way of undermining – emasculating, if you will – any confident claims of finally having understood insignificance, or ever being done with it. Suspending In medias res in a hole in the ground thus serves as a reminder that the question whether insignificance is sustainable should always be answered doubtfully.
If Insignificants have any legacy it might be this: ?