Vere van der Veen on Fiona Candlin's talk Hugging Baboons and Tracing Hieroglyphs: Touching Museum Exhibits Without Permission
A boy walked into the British Museum, a museum older than the United States, the first with electric light, and 3,312 panes of glass. He approached an old giant arm that was more than 2,500 years old and clenched his fist, giving it a fist-pump. Barack Obama once did that same thing, but not to a museum object. That’s not allowed, right?
Fiona wonders why. Why do people touch museum pieces without permission?
People touch because they want to know if something is real.
People touch because they want to feel the material.
People touch because they want to connect with the past.
People touch because they want to place their hand in the same place as the person who made it.
People touch because they want to know who they are.
People touch animal sculptures because they want to stroke them.
People touch animal sculptures because they want to feed them.
People touch animal sculptures because they want to hug them.
People touch human sculptures because they want to touch their hands.
People touch human sculptures because they want to touch their bellies.
People touch human sculptures because they want to touch their bums.
People touch human sculptures because they want to touch their boobs.
People touch human sculptures because they want to touch their genitals.
People touch because it is the only sculpture in the room.
People touch because they want to act with the objects.
People touch because of the height of the object.
People touch because they find the sculpture attractive.
‘We touch to feel what it looks like’.
Vere van der Veen on Yvonne Dröge Wendel's Relational Thingness
When we walked into the gym there was a really big black ball in the right corner next to the stage. When almost nobody was able to see the floor any longer, the gym became full. Four people tried to get in through the doorway. Next to me I saw several people climbing in over the windowsill. We were silent, waiting for what was coming. In the front a couple of hands went up in the air. Like they were waving to someone I couldn’t see. The ball began to move. First, silent and slow, but then after a few seconds people started laughing and whispering. More and more hands were waving in the hope that the big ball would come to them like a paperclip to a magnet.
Yvonne is the artist who made the big black ball, once married to a closet in the gym, and then went on a journey with a white stick, and then to Rome with a white car. She tells us about the love for objects and that an object can be an actor. In her work she investigates the boundaries of humanity. Can an object change because of what you do with it? Or can your appearance change because of an object you are holding? Can you change something by touching it? These are among a lot of questions Yvonne tries to answer with her work, things you can try to answer. Do you already have your own answer? What happens when we touch?