The Unending Quantity of Objects: An Observation on Museums and Their Presentation Modes



Like archives and libraries, the museum has been treated as a central agent of knowledge, attempting to bring order to an “unending quantity” of objects through their preservation and arrangement. However, new technologies of exhibition and museological display go a step further and find a different solution. They categorize this quantity, but present it to the gaze of the viewer as an endless row without hierarchy. They represent the quantity itself. I will argue that the most recent installations of numerous museums evoke the amazement, reverence, and fascination of earlier collection displays. But, at the same time, and different from systematizers of the eighteenth century, we are no longer confronted with a classification behind the order, but with the mass of objects alone.


Eighteenth Century British Library Visible Storage World Exhibition Entrance Hall 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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