Buch Aesthetics of Globalization

Between Global Art, Traditional Cultures and the Aesthetic Reality of a Global World

Aesthetics of Globalization. Ed. by Norbert Schmitz. Wien: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2021
Aesthetics of Globalization. Ed. by Norbert Schmitz. Wien: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2021

A publication of Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design

Global Art is indeed a product of modern processes of civilization. It results from the disappearance of traditional patterns of aesthetic creation both in the Occident and the Orient and becomes an increasingly independent differentiated subsystem of modern society. The art establishment has always been an indicator of the degree of modernization which creates tension in any form of cultural identity. Art is part of globalization, and, like all power practices, it comes with moral ambivalences.

With essays by Marc Augé, Bazon Brock, Jürgen Wasim Frembgen, Regina Höfer, Sarah Khan, Hans Ulrich Reck, and Norbert M. Schmitz.


Schmitz, Norbert

Verlag für moderne Kunst

Wien, Österreich


256 S., farb. ill.


Seite 191-212 im Original



The emphasis on the new across all avant-garde movements in art is a challenge that often meets with aggression, denial, or retreat on the part of the public. Professionalized viewers go about it more reasonably. If the new really is new, it is as yet indeterminate, and as a result, one can only speak of this unknown new in relation to a known old. On the whole, this connection to past worlds has made modernism extremely successful as a deeply meaningful amplification of current circumstances. The avant-garde does not depart from tradition, but keeps it continually present and visible. Musealization is a strategy of progress, especially for subduing malice on the part of cultural opponents, testosterone warriors, and the virile-blooded and their ideological caretakers. It’s only when we succeed in civilizing these cultural barbarians that we have a chance at normalcy.

On the theoretical terrain, we present that object of container science, the museum vitrine. (2) It represents the apotheosis of the institution of the museum as an agency of civilization and contains an array of odd art products and handmade as well as natural objects. In a cultural historical connection to the royal cabinets of art and curiosities, the vitrine makes it possible to arrange objects in a heterogeneous manner that offers possibilities for perception with general appeal. (3) The princes amassed these collections of art and curiosities long before museums existed as established institutions. Among the regal treasures were the curiositates rerum naturae, for example the striking bezoar stones from camels’ stomachs, or the tusk of the narwhal, which was mistaken for the unicorn. These were objects primarily intended to arouse curiosity and feed the imagination, and their presentation amounted to a set of instructions about how to conceive of an ordering of the world; this notion also inhabited the inlaid images of the studioli. Private studies and scholars’ chambers of this kind, in which the prince communed with the world in the form of books and excellent works of art, offered an entirely secular context of interpretation.

Among the spiritual forms of presentation, the relic chambers in medieval Christian hubs stand out. The populace was interested in the relic collections chiefly due to the history of healing ascribed to the objects, which were said to bring about miracle cures. Relics were extremely valuable and had to be protected against thieves. The tiny finger bone of a martyr could not be placed in the hand of just anyone, and had to be shown at a distance of several meters. The relic was often so tiny that it was barely visible. Consequently, the visibility of the non-visible had to be secured. The necessity of showing the tiny bones, shards, and fragments of the saints’ remains in an appropriate way gave rise to the marvelous instrument of the so-called monstrance. This elaborately shaped presentation device with a golden corona has a container at its center equipped with a set of magnifying mirrors to make it possible to see an object that would remain largely invisible without technical intervention; at the same time, the object encased in the monstrance is emphasized as a thing being shown. In this demonstration of the act of showing, the monstrance marks the birth of all museum technology. The more the objects presented retreat from view, the more important this demonstration of the act of showing becomes. Thus, seeing and viewing in themselves occupy the center of observation.


In a museum, the visitor sees the way in which something is shown. At the same time, he or she observes the people there viewing the artifacts. In other words, visitors observe other visitors, who for their part watch other people viewing something. These reflexive forms of observation are visualized in especially vivid ways in various art genres, for instance in the veduta paintings that had their heyday in the eighteenth century. Vedute (In Italian veduta means “view,” and comes from the Latin vedere, “to see”) are usually depictions of cityscapes. Thus, a painter like Bernardo Bellotto, called Canaletto, offers us a view through an open window, a panorama of a Venetian cityscape in which the viewer can observe people busily going about their business on streets and plazas. The people depicted are looking at other people, who for their part are gazing at the backdrop of Venice; among them are individual figures that seem to stare back at the viewer.

When people watch other people watching something, as with this typical veduta composition, one speaks of a viewing of a second order. Observing observers is a basic reflexive phenomenon that can be seen everywhere today in the modern sciences of sociology, psychology, and epistemology. Essentially, the vedute addressed perception as reflexive seeing. Anyone not up to this reflexive effort can still view the paintings, but will not understand a thing, and thus will glean nothing from the observation. (4)

The only path to a meaningful observation leads through theory. The Greek term “theory” means to subject what the eye sees to the contemplation of what is evident. When viewers sat in the upper circles of a theater 2,500 years ago and watched the tragic events occurring on the proscenium, they were enacting nothing but theory. (5) In developing an understanding for the incident presented and thus linking it to themselves, they reflexively gained access to the framework of the theatrically portrayed.


English parks, exemplary spaces for the picturesque communion of people with artifacts and nature, were created in the 1710s and became ideal social networks. As the gamekeeper for a population’s ability to socially connect beyond all cultural allegiances such as religion, ethnicity, or family, the English garden furthered the optimization of all future-oriented efforts in the human community. The idea of the English landscape garden included the idea of a model of the world as presented by the park. These theoretical efforts carried out in public—in other words, this elaboration of conditions through the park’s constellations—anticipated the idea of a presentation space that was understood not as a showroom, but as a space for understanding. Similar to the veduta genre, a key component of the English garden was a willingness to learn something from observing its viewers, to experience the way they handled objects and hence to find out what conclusions other viewers drew from their observations.

This is easily understood today by any gallery visitor. As a rule, one doesn’t go to the opening of an exhibition to see the art, but to watch people who, while they might intend to view the works, are prevented from doing so through their sheer numbers and (if nothing else) physical presence. Hence at an art opening, the point is not to look at art, but to set oneself in scene. Discrediting the effects of this self-presentation as a ridiculous fashion is unadvisable, because it overlooks the fact that social existence has always been negotiated through being noticed by others. To be is to be perceived, or, in Latin, esse est percepi. For others, one is only important to the degree that one allows the other to enter into a relationship with one’s own person. The idea of the network articulates precisely this: bringing oneself into the perception of others on a constant reciprocal basis meant to serve as the confirmation for one’s own existence. (6)

Showing the showing, learning learning, knowing knowing are forms of generating understanding that can be practiced in museums. Everyone knows that relationships and acquaintanceships among people take on special interest when self-referentiality is part of the game. Reflexivity is the catchword for the entire modern development, which sociologist Ulrich Beck has described as “reflexive modernism.”

In order to elucidate self-referentiality for our visitors, I’d like to point to an excellent theoretical model that consists of a pair of brushes. A brush is normally used to brush clothes, shoes, or hair. In the process, the brush removes dirt from the surface by dirtying itself. Part of the dirt vanishes into the surroundings through atomization, while the rest remains trapped in the brush; in other words, through its proper usage, the brush becomes dirty. When one applies the principle of brushing to the brush itself, it becomes clean again. The instinctively correct brushing of the dirty brush reveals the secret of reflexivity. One might hang our little pair of brushes in the closet to remind oneself at any time how everyday domestic life provides orientation as a school of philosophy. At home, modernism’s magic word prevails: reflexivity. Brushing the dirty brush reveals a self-referentiality in the daily act of purifying itself.


As an institution, the museum arose out of an idea the French revolutionaries had to give the common folk access to King Louis XVI’s collection in the Louvre. After Napoleon assumed power, a curious public was allowed access to the instruments of gaining knowledge. The collection was no longer considered a part of the palace holdings and therefore no longer as royal property, but passed into public ownership.

In eighteenth-century Germany, following the Enlightenment, the Fridericianum in Kassel (later site of the documenta) was the first museum building to be erected on the continent. Finished in 1779, it did not contain a museum collection at first, but served as an extension of the princely cabinets of art and curiosities. It wasn’t until 1820 that the institution of the museum was formally born, shortly after the first professorship for art history was established. Previously, problems of perception and judgment were a matter for aestheticians and philosophers. Around 1800, aesthetics was a philosophical discipline concerned with the problem of how events in the external world were related to the processes in the human brain. (7)

All knowledge essentially consists in nothing other than the problematizing of hypotheses and the use we make of these. Ideas like this were adopted by the European institution of the museum and allowed it to become an agency of civilization of the first order, one that remains unparalleled to this day. A more recent elaboration on this significance took place with the “Initiative for the Civilizing of Cultures through the Power of Musealization” by Bazon Brock, Peter Sloterdijk, and Peter Weibel on November 24, 2007 in the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe: using established criteria of differentiation, the museum is the place where the various cultures’ accomplishments can be honored in peace without the danger of being coerced into declaring loyalty to one culture as opposed to another. Nowhere, including in Western culture, have the achievements of other cultures been recognized to the same degree as in museums, these agencies of universal civilization. If cultural warriors seek to extort respect and recognition for the products of their cultural communities, then this desire is met nowhere more thoroughly than in a museum. For this reason, there is hope that through an increasingly differentiated and comprehensive musealization of all the world’s cultures, mutual recognition can contribute to fostering peace and civilization by enabling people to assume responsibility for all of humanity, instead of for their own cultural community alone.

The Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who was awarded the honorary title “Atatürk” (“Father of the Turks”) in 1934, provides us with one of the clearest examples of the way in which the civilizing process is achieved through the musealization process. On November 24, 1934, he attempted to deescalate, by decree, the ongoing struggle between Muslim culturalists and Western secularists by turning one of the most magnificent and important mosques in Islam into a museum. One begins to understand the greatness of Atatürk’s achievement when one learns that the mosque thus transformed into a museum—originally the Hagia Sophia, built around 537 by Emperor Justinian I—was the most powerful expression of Byzantine Caeseropapism, and thus constituted a nearly unique unity of secular and spiritual rule by the kingdoms of man and God based on the Christian trinity.

With the musealization decree, the historical unity of the human living environment on the Bosporus was also programmatically called to mind. In Atatürk’s view, historical Byzantium/Constantinople was not destroyed in 1453 through the Turkish Islamic conquest, but carried into contemporary times. Atatürk showed that musealization achieves its goal in visualizing the past: an understanding of the connection between the birth and demise of cultures, regardless of their great achievements. The cultural sphere of the Bosporus derives its significance for the history of humanity through the presence of Hittite, Hellenistic, Byzantine/East Roman, and Ottoman cultural expression. The fact that Kemal Atatürk, as a living human being, was able to gratefully respect and accept the challenge of all these forms of expression of human society equally lies at the core of the sense of self of a man we continue to honor, who was civilized well beyond his own cultural background.


The growing number of museums, not only in the traditional West, but worldwide, makes it clear that the representation of history is drawing closer and closer to an ideal in which a large number of past realities are simultaneously expressed. The museums salvage these pasts as parts of our present. Their pedagogical services hone our ability to appreciate artifacts for reasons derived from their differences, and they lead to a social acceptance of this appreciation.

The avant-garde modernists made a crucial contribution to the continued development of our contemporary ability to lend meaning to the things of the world through their differences. To an unexpected degree, as advocates of the dead and of their history, they’ve proved to be the vanguard and the leading scouts of the future. The twentieth-century avant-gardists succeeded in creating new ways to represent a past that harbored considerable potential influence for the present. Traditions do not exert their influence from the past forever; they lose their effect precisely because of the self-evident nature of their validity. This familiarity dulls attention and fosters indifference toward passed-down patterns of perception and judgment, because they no longer force anyone to justify themselves. In response to this erosion through habit, modernism as a whole discovered a larger orientation toward the new. The accusation that the avant-garde wanted to free itself of tradition and to enforce the new for the sake of newness at any cost falls flat. If something is truly new, it remains indistinct at first, otherwise it wouldn’t be new. People react to the challenge of the new either by denying or destroying it or through the realization that one can only talk about the as yet indeterminate new in reference to the old. It’s the pressure of the new that creates a fresh view of traditional artifacts, images of the world, and cultural convictions so self-evident that they’ve ceased to be interesting.

There is a crucial criterion for evaluating the claim of the avant-gardists of having brought something entirely new into the world: a thing is only avantgarde if it induces us to see, with new eyes, traditions and cultural products we believe we know down to their last detail. For instance, the Brücke painters from Dresden, from 1911 on generally referred to as “German Expressionists,” passed this test because they revived interest in the Spanish painter El Greco, who had been forgotten since his death in 1614, thus creating the surprising impression that El Greco was practically the Expressionists’ contemporary.

The Viennese architecture avant-gardist Adolf Loos so alarmed his contemporaries with his concept of the bare white wall that they quickly retreated to their tried-and-true architecture history, only to discover to their amazement that the great masters Palladio and Brunelleschi had already formulated questions in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that apparently required Adolf Loos’s addiction to novelty to intentionally bring them to life.

We have the Swiss avant-gardist Alberto Giacometti—and what were originally taken to be absurd aberrations from the ordinary concept of sculpture and plastic form—to thank for a completely new view of the Cycladic sculptures of the second millennium BC. The path to such surprising reevaluations through a new perspective on seemingly well-known works of the past is laid through the vague recognition and exploration of formal analogies between avant-garde and traditional artifacts. The true avant-gardists of the twentieth century showed us countless such paths, such that the current expressions of cultures of all times and places made it necessary to erect, in shorter and shorter intervals, additional museums that provide us with precious resources for meeting the challenges of the future.

Conclusion: there would be no traditions effective today without the avant-garde. Traditions are always newly forged from the respective present—chiefly under the pressure of the new.

In contrast to epigonic traditionalists and conservative champions of tradition, avant-gardists create new pasts for our present. We have artists like A. R. Penck and Daniel Spoerri, whose objects realized the connection between cults and artifacts in a kind of “experimental historiography,” to thank for “The Utopian Past” (Nikolaus Himmelmann). (8)

I’d also like to highlight another class of avant-gardists whose declared goal is to prevent certain foreseeable futures. Out of a speculative prediction of potential futures arises an avant-gardism of refusal, a position the advocacy of which calls for the greatest degree of persuasiveness and stamina. Artists who resist the apocalyptic prognoses of the future and the seemingly hopeless development of events are called arrière-gardists. Proponents of the arrière-garde work with the available eschatological assertions and confront them in the present with future pasts. That’s easier than it sounds, because our pasts can be described as former futures and our present can be regarded as tomorrow’s past. In this vein, we give the name “future” to the imaginative space in which this interplay of temporal forms is set into motion with fantasy, in other words, with the goal of the largest number of options possible. The artist Adi Hoesle terms this avant-garde in which the future openly refers back to the present and past “retrograde.” Its essential method is to dismantle things to open up alternatives that one either didn’t originally see or didn’t think it was possible to choose, based on assumptions that the future would prove incorrect. (9)


As far back as antiquity, philosophers have asked themselves how to point to what is absent, and how one could ascertain whether or not what can be understood in conceptual terms can also be found somewhere in the real world. In the medieval dispute over universals, this question was passionately argued: is the concept of redness real in the same way as the property of “being red” as observed in various objects, for instance (ruby-)red glasses, red-colored wool, or red-painted walls? Those who made the claim that concepts constructed from the nominalization of characteristics (universalia) were just as real as things that possess these characteristics were considered “realists.” On the other hand, whoever felt compelled to assume that such concepts were nothing more than names for a respective class of properties for the purposes of differentiating between them was considered a nominalist. The question remains: are universalia realia or mere nouns? The answer: yes and no.

It wasn’t, of course, all just some aloof jamboree of philosophers and theologians, but concrete everyday questions and the more important human quest for eternal bliss—today, it’s more about our duty to equality, freedom, brotherhood, and the inviolability of human dignity in both everyday life and on the constitutionally decreed Sunday. Even Germans, despite their belief in concepts, would insist that political efforts regarding the fair distribution of goods, equal treatment of all before the law, and an equal chance at determining one’s own life have to be directed at concrete individuals in concrete life situations; that it’s not enough to pen texts, however great, about equality, freedom, and brotherhood. In this regard, nominalism is binding. On the other hand, we cannot evaluate concrete circumstances, for instance in the form of things and their properties, animals and their needs, plants and their requirements for living, or human beings and their ability to create meaning, without resorting to universalia—without the conceptual differentiation between essence and appearance, attribute and substance, potentiality and actuality—that is, without the genesis of the thing we are actually looking at.

Moreover, we are forced to do this: the evolution of the brain has made our intellectual powers specifically suited to this purpose. Our “world image organ” (Konrad Lorenz) acquired its fantastic abilities in part through the challenge of improving its ability to secure the survival of its “carrier organism” throughout the history of the species. It was a matter of mastering the concrete problems posed by the surroundings. In this regard, we operate as nominalists with our intellectual capabilities. The fantastic achievements of our world image organ also partly arose as its optimization strategies began to refer back to itself. This succeeded chiefly through its ability to develop a manner of dealing every bit as much with the virtual, with absence, and with invisibility as with the tried-and-tested confrontation with the real and the present and everything the senses perceive. We are concept realists to the extent that the virtual or the potential can only be imagined as a concept and not by pointing at something given. Consequently, the fight over universalia cannot be resolved by deciding on the one or other side; instead, it’s a matter of understanding, in view of the concrete challenge to master life’s difficulties, what relationship should exist between nominalism and realism.

On theoretical terrain as well as more generally in representation and investigation facilities for the purposes of evaluating assertions about the world, the objects of study are placed in constellations that are determined among other things by the circumstances of nominalist and realist usages of terms as well as by principles of visual order, referred to as schools of hanging or presentation, or by formal analogies creating difference and so on. The goal of creating these constellations is to generate manifestation and evidence, but such that everyone who has an idea or finds something to be evident knows how easily he or she can be deceived. Hence, every experience of evidence has to be criticized from what we know about our deceivability. This cannot only happen virtually, as a mental operation; the criticism of evidence has to have an impact on the demonstration of evidence. Criticism of evidence only achieves its goal in the creation of new evidence. This method justified the previously unknown achievements of the arts and sciences with the development of measuring devices as evidence generators that operated according to the criticism of the human eye’s precarious perception. Artists created representational forms of difference in perception and thought, and hence in manifestation and criticism (and thus of the use of nominalist or realist terms, of virtuality and reality or actuality and potentiality).

We’d like to take a brief look at some of the constellations in this theoretical terrain, for instance by examining the vitrines ordinarily used for viewing in museums, in which the desired framework—creation of evidence through criticism of evidence—is presented to the public. (10) Vitrines are one part of the constellation as a monstrance, a possibility of showing that something is being shown. The extent to which the public reacts to this type of showing the shown, this type of monstrance, is the degree to which it forms the other end of the constellation as a demonstrance. Through its interest, its questions, its criticism, it validates the meaning of the constellation for the museum-goer’s understanding of self as a recipient or, by extension, as consumer, patient, voter.

Ever since my action teaching “Show your favorite good!” in the streets of Berlin and the IDZ in 1977, I’ve attempted to establish an entire set of constellations as a unity of monstrance and demonstrance.


Our vitrine juxtaposes a sculpture by the Hellenistic artist Skopas (the goddess of medicine, Hygieia, ca. 320 BC) with a Cubo-Expressionist bronze sculpture by William Wauer that depicts the speaker Rudolf Blümner (1918); this in turn is placed in relation to a ritual African mask. Such models for creating constellations are the prevailing standard in museums worldwide, ever since we discovered that the value of an artifact can only really be determined by two-way comparison. All cultural objects are evaluated according to criteria based on their differences. If one wishes to get to know a culture, one is forced to compare it to other cultures to develop a set of criteria appropriate for evaluation. If the Louvre presents Greek and African sculptures in immediate proximity to one another, and parallel to this references the Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian sculptural achievements, the standard is set as one of knowledge through comparison. After all, it’s the differences between cultures that constitute the particular value of each. In order to judge various cultures through comparison, an understanding of cultural production as a whole has to be translated into a type of constellation that demonstrates what humans are capable of achieving intellectually and materially in terms of artifacts and social bodies. In other words, thinking in constellations envisages criteria for differentiating as criteria of comparison. This corresponds to an old maxim of philosophy, according to which things become differentiated when viewed with their sameness in mind, and become similar when seen in terms of their differences. The degree to which we need to be reminded of this basic tenet even today can be seen in the common rebuke that one can’t, after all, compare apples and oranges or the effects of Hitler with Stalin and Mao. One must compare in order to be able to differentiate between allegedly incomparable things; evidently, people fear that comparison could turn into an equalizer. Yet comparison achieves its aim through differentiation, even though every differentiation presupposes similarity, specifically in the questions posed to the circumstances being compared.

When constellations are set up that are connected to a certain mechanism of translation (for instance formal analogy), one approaches what is commonly referred to as a metaphor. Metaphorization is the transference from an intellectual realm to a visual realm, from the visual to the behavioral, and then to the psychic realm. In other words, metaphorization presupposes a continuous shift in planes of reference. (12) The most important linguistic-intellectual operation is the transference from one status to another, from one temporal form to another, from the microsphere to the macrosphere, from one culture to another. Metaphorization enables us to recognize structural analogies and functional equivalences between two divergent spheres (Niklas Luhmann).

One of the constellations addressed in our museum vitrine can be read as a metaphor for a whole series of historic developments, or, as they were commonly called in the nineteenth century, “movements.” Even if the objects presented seem banal at first glance, and even if some of them can be purchased in any department store, together they evoke overarching historic circumstances. In one compartment of the vitrine, three banal objects of painted clay or plaster form a constellation for the musealization of cultural struggles in the second half of the nineteenth century: an elephant, a fist, and a group of “master and dog” figures. If one is interested enough, an encyclopedia of iconography helps us identify the objects as Bismarck with his dog; the fist of the worker’s movement active since Bismarck’s time, and the elephant as an attraction in the new conceptions of zoological gardens developed around the same time, the most important of which comes from the legendary Karl Hagenbeck.

Regarded as a constellation, this then means: Hagenbeck musealized nature in the construction of his zoo concept. At the same time, August Bebel musealized the aggressive workers’ social movement by joining it to the Social Democratic party. And Bismarck musealized the cultural war with Rome as well as the power struggles of the European states by drawing up complex insurance contracts. He forgot, however, to inform the public what the criteria of connection were—to what each museum was beholden—for which reason almost no one understood the constellations he created after he was dismissed by the autocrat Wilhelm II. In reaction to the reformist threat the Social Democrats posed, the founder of the second German empire championed social legislation as a pacification strategy in domestic policy. In this light, Bismarck represented musealization and thus the civilizing of politics, which can also be read in the context of the major European powers as the encouragement of a “balance of powers.” In a tight web of contractual obligations and alliances among the national states, all of whom were seeking to impose their imperial will, Bismarck saw a fundamental chance to if not avoid, then at least to civilize armed conflicts, which inside the German nation took the form of cultural struggles. (13)

In an experimental sort of historiography, the three objects of the constellation frame references to the Bismarck era as an important time in terms of cultural history and civilization theory. (14) As far as Hagenbeck is concerned, I personally conducted an experiment of this sort in 1963, when I challenged Grzimek, head of the Frankfurt Zoo and the first “TV Noah” and conservationist of the television age, to admit me into his zoo, into the primate group, as a member of an endangered species. Grzimek had translated the Red List of animals under threat of extinction into hierarchies of attraction for his zoo. At the time, there was the notion that certain types of animals could only be protected from extinction by keeping them in a zoo; in the best of cases, if they reproduced successfully, they could then be released into the wild. For me, being admitted to the primate group in the exhibition section of the Frankfurt Zoo was intended to inspire the visitor to judge him- or herself according to the evaluation criteria that Grzimek had set up. He refused me a life as a representative of homo sapiens conscious of his end—in spite of my very modest requirements, I was not admitted to the zoo. Yet forty years after my failed application, the London Zoo decided to offer a group of hominids of the species homo sapiens sapiens asylum alongside the great apes (in all likelihood, those responsible had read Sloterdijk’s “Rules for the Human Zoo”of 1999 and understood that humanist concepts have always been connected to the enlightened decision to regard humans, as all living creatures, as developments of one and the same natural evolution).

Among the references to experimental historiography that our vitrine constellation has to offer, we’d like to highlight one other example which the collection of dogs shown in another compartment warns of as the first results of domestication. Bismarck is chiefly identified by his assistance animal, much in the way we recognize Zeus by his eagle, which grasps the lightning bolts of the angry god in its talons. In the early 1980s, Ulrich Raulff and Ulrich Giersch, editors of the Wilde Akademie Berlin and the magazine for transportation science, Tumult, developed together with several other experimenters a series of cynological experiments. Based on the familiar attributions of the properties of their dogs to politicians and thinkers (Hitler and his German shepherd Blondie, Mephistopheles / Schopenhauer and the poodle, Emperor Wilhelm II and the dachshund, Thomas Mann and mixed race dogs, Queen Elizabeth and corgies, the blind and golden retrievers, mountain guides and St. Bernhards…), corresponding animal natures were to be bred as assistance animals for Khrushchev, Khomeini, Heidegger, Celan, Chancellor Schmidt, Carl Schmitt, Goebbels, and others of a similar caliber. We have not progressed much beyond the historic formula of the proper functioning of the domini canes, in other words, the Dominicans. Historically, master and dog, dog and wellbeing, tending and nurturing have already been so wonderfully cast in stone that even the fantasy of a breeder gone rogue doesn’t stand a chance. And certainly not with the Iron Chancellor and his formidable butcher’s dog.

The three movements represented in our museum vitrine with simple signifiers have proven to be exemplary and point the way ahead for efforts to civilize cultures. At the same time, one sees that coherent constellations lead to the development of thoughts that speak metaphorically of the history of civilizing cultures in the second half of the nineteenth century: with Hagenbeck, domination over nature and imperialism; with Bebel, the workers’ and social movements and the fight for social standards; with Bismarck, the ruling system of diplomatic, bureaucratic, and ultimately military power and the assertion of the relationship between idea and reality in the art of governing. Governing always means mediating between the people’s wishes and political, social, and economic realities. In the same way, to govern oneself is to govern the world, as Thomas Mann’s hero Hans Castorp of The Magic Mountain discovers. This notion contains ideas of sitting and watching and rethinking things quietly, thus museum behavior. Governing oneself is an attempt to cultivate a meaningful influence on one’s own behavior, to the point that this model can be transposed back onto society. The constellations placed in the museum vitrines point to the important task of using the power of metaphor to pry apart the violence in the cultural identity delusion. Anyone who wishes to civilize fundamentalists has to offer them a metaphoric use of language. We have to enable them to accept transference across different planes so that the concept of a civilizing transmission can take the place of the zealous cultural mission.

It remains for the editors of this volume to note that since 2020, as part of the religious policy of the AKP under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Haghia Sophie has been made accessible again for Islamic worship.

(1) First printed in Bazon Brock, Lustmarsch durchs Theoriegelände—Musealisiert Euch!, Cologne 2008, pp. 186 – 209, translated by Andrea Scrima.
(2) When, in a 1974 event of Lucius Burckhardt’s at the University of Kassel, I introduced the concept of container science, I had already expressis verbis conceived the unity between the museum as container (= rubbish containment) and on the other hand garbage dumps/permanent disposal sites of radioactive waste as the treasure houses of a final cultural and religious justification. See the chapter Fininvest—Gott und Müll, in: Brock 2008, pp. 232 – 255 and Bazon Brock, Das Einzige, was Menschen in Zukunft gemeinsam haben werden, sind Probleme, in: id., Die Re-Dekade. Kunst und Kultur der 80er Jahre, Munich 1990, pp. 11–18.
(3) Bazon Brock, Zur Rekonstruktion einer zeitgemäßen Kunst- und Wunderkammer, in: Daniel Spoerri (ed.), Le Musée sentimental de Cologne, Cologne 1979, pp. 18 – 27.
(4) Ever since my school days, I have attempted to ascertain how, by simply keeping one’s mouth shut, one could become wise. Evidently, our Latin teacher Naumann held the meaning of the sentence “si tacuisses philosophus mansisses” [had you kept silent, you would have remained a philosopher] to be so self-explanatory that he felt no need to offer any further explanation for the assertion.
As Boethius states in his consolations of philosophy, a true philosopher does not react to slights or insults, or, as they say in Vienna: don’t even ignore it. The practice is believed not only to attest to a philosophical character formation, but to act as a foundation for profundity as such. As the saying goes, “et at tacites deduxit Pallas sacros,” in other words: Pallas only opens the holy sites up to those who are willing to be silent in awe, or: the goddess gives us spiritual strength by teaching us to be silent. These justifications of depth have always made me angry, especially as the silent ones take care to demonstrate their superiority, and hence their wisdom, through a mockingly condescending smile. At the close of the discussions that took place in the museum visitors’ school, those who had remained silent in awe turned out to be the stupidest of the bunch, yet had the highest expectations. They demanded all conceivable information, explanations, interpretations of the works, only to announce with an air of superiority that all this knowledge does not, of course, in the slightest live up to the magnificence of standing silently in awe before these masterpieces.
(5) To understand the relationship between theory and praxis, see in the chapter Musealisiert Euch! Europas Zukunft als Museum der Welt. Ein Lustmarsch durchs Theoriegelände the section Eröffnungsspiel: Preußische Partie, in: Brock 2008, pp. 36 f.
(6) See chapter Pathosinstitut AZ—Opferolympiaden, in: Brock 2008, pp. 328 – 352.
(7) The parable-like film Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa shows this complex connection between outer occurrence and inner experience in a particularly trenchant way: four people are supposed to observe the same event and then report on what they’ve seen (in the case of Rashomon, this event is a murder); the four witnesses tell four different stories. The complicated process of finding out what happened only begins after they are forced, despite their differences, to find some path to the truth.
(8) Bazon Brock, “Prillwitzer Idole”. Über die obotritischen Heiligtümer und ihre Faszination für die neuesten Bronzeskulpturen von Daniel Spoerri, in: Kornelia von Berswordt-Wallrabe/Staatliches Museum Schwerin (eds.), Daniel Spoerri. Prillwitzer Idole. Kunst nach Kunst nach Kunst, exhibition catalogue, Schwerin 2006, pp. 18 f.
(9) On these theories of the avant-garde and neophilia in modernism developed between 1977 and 1982, see Avantgarde und Tradition, in: Bazon Brock, Ästhetik gegen erzwungene Unmittelbarkeit, Die Gottsucherbande. Schriften 1978 –1986, Cologne 1986, pp. 102 – 298.
(10) See Martin Mulsow/Marcelo Stamm (eds.), Konstellationsforschung, Frankfurt am Main 2005.
(11) See Torquato Tasso by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Fifth Act, Scene Five.
(12) See in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of January 8, 2008, the article by Joseph Weizenbaum (MIT) on, among other things, the metaphorization of the sciences: “Because they join together disparate contexts, metaphors and analogies bring forth new insights. Nearly all our knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is metaphorical. And for this reason it’s not absolute.”
(13) Bazon Brock, Der Barbar als Kulturheld. Ästhetik des Unterlassens. Kritik der Wahrheit. Wie man wird, der man nicht ist. = Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 3: 1991– 2002, Cologne 2002, pp. 287 f.
(14) On musealization as a form of experimental historiography, see Bazon Brock, Das Zeughaus. Diesseits—Jenseits—Abseits. Die Sammlung als Basislager für Expeditionen in die Zeitgenossenschaft, in Brock 2002, pp. 721–725.

Fig. 1: Museum Vitrine–The World in Constellations, shown at the exhibition "Lustmarsch durchs Theoriegelände. Musealisiert Euch" as part of Bazon Brock's action teaching in museums in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 188 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 1: Museum Vitrine–The World in Constellations, shown at the exhibition "Lustmarsch durchs Theoriegelände. Musealisiert Euch" as part of Bazon Brock's action teaching in museums in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 188 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 2: Modernity equals the magic of reflexivity: Dirty brushes become clean when the brushes are brushed, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 192 ["Ich meiner mir mich er sich. Im Bürsten zeigt sich täglich reinste Selbstbezüglichkeit."].
Fig. 2: Modernity equals the magic of reflexivity: Dirty brushes become clean when the brushes are brushed, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 192 ["Ich meiner mir mich er sich. Im Bürsten zeigt sich täglich reinste Selbstbezüglichkeit."].
Fig. 3: Skopas and El Lissitzky— Gesundheit, soziale Fürsorge, Leibesübungen— GeSoLei  (Health, public welfare, physical  exercise), Dusseldorf, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 201 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 3: Skopas and El Lissitzky— Gesundheit, soziale Fürsorge, Leibesübungen— GeSoLei (Health, public welfare, physical exercise), Dusseldorf, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 201 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 4: Rudolf Blümner by William Wauer (1918), who carried the tone of the lieutenants’ casino over to expressionist poetry, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 201 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 4: Rudolf Blümner by William Wauer (1918), who carried the tone of the lieutenants’ casino over to expressionist poetry, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 201 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 5: African Ritual Mask: Cult image, and not art, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 201 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 5: African Ritual Mask: Cult image, and not art, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 201 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 6 a: Objects from the museum vitrine, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 202 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 6 a: Objects from the museum vitrine, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 202 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 6 b: Objects from the museum vitrine, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 202 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 6 b: Objects from the museum vitrine, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 202 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 6 c: Objects from the museum vitrine, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 202 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 6 c: Objects from the museum vitrine, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 202 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 7: Hagenbeck, Bebel, Bismarck, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 203 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 7: Hagenbeck, Bebel, Bismarck, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 203 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 8: Thinking in constellations applied: The assistance animals of German leadership figures, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 204 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 8: Thinking in constellations applied: The assistance animals of German leadership figures, 2006, Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 204 © QART, Stefanie Hierholzer und Ulrich Klaus.
Fig. 9: Musealization of nature, the workers’ movement, and politics (illustration: Stefan Reimering), Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 207; Illustration: Stefan Reimering.
Fig. 9: Musealization of nature, the workers’ movement, and politics (illustration: Stefan Reimering), Bild: Lustmarsch, II.6, S. 207; Illustration: Stefan Reimering.

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