Date: Saturday 15th November 2008, 10 am – 5.30 pm
Venue: Richard Hoggart Building, Room 309, Goldsmiths
The symposium/exhibition aimed to interrogate notions of Balkan identity, and trouble the impulse to create a stable taxonomic account of
the Eastern European subject. Through the construction of protective preservation chambers (light-safe boxes sewn out of black felt),
fetishized Balkan could only be encountered through a small peephole. Also, photographs of Balkan people were placed in glass jars, to
ensure that they are not physically handled by the viewing public. The voyeuristic impulse hidden behind the project of preservation was
exposed, where the boxes and jars claim to protect the objects from light and decay, but instead contribute to widening the gap between
the (Western) self and (Balkan) other.
The labels which accompanied the garments and photographs contained a mixture of factual and imagined information, once more calling
into question the taxonomic urge, and highlighting the problematic process at work behind studying and representing the other. Through
the methods of conservation employed in this project, which intensify the relationship between the merging of scientific and absurd
classification practices, the curator hoped to contribute visually to the already vast field of study which questions the space from
which the Balkan subject is formed.