Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence


Produced by MinRASY Projects, the Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence (MoMRtA) is a para-museum. Something like, something near, but not a museum. This ‘not’ may span from negation to denial without implying a dialectical relationship. A radical contiguity is affirmed in the very gesture of exhibiting in modern art museums. Coquettishly mimicking the names of such museums, with a zest of self-derision in the final anagram of art (which one can also read as Arty A!), MoMRtA opposes to the heroic values of modernism, such as progress, based on time continuity, another idea and experience of time. Some measuring devices in this thought provoking collection, such as the empty time ruler with two Palestinian exodus dates, and a sand hourglass without sand, convey the idea of a temporal incommensurability. Recycling the lost times of those who left their homes years ago with their large keys, hoping they will soon return and open their same doors with those rusty “museum” keys, a collection of different transparent keys, with the Mac “return” one, does not simply work like surrealistic paradoxes, expressing the inanity of their subject. At a primary level, all the MoMRtA collection can be understood as surrealistic paradoxical objects. Another, multilevel, reading is possible. Many objects, in this manufactured response to absence, work like a Rosetta stone. One can read the same sign in the Kuwaiti official idiom, parasitized by different levels of common Kuwaiti citizens’ talk. A primordial voice is also given to the absent ones, Palestinians who think of themselves as a part of Kuwaiti’s history; it cannot be heard without the echoes of the romantic revolutionary one, adopted not only by Palestinians, but by all of us, Arabs or justice lovers from anywhere, who adopt their cause.

Jacques Aswad
Beirut / Algiers, December 2013

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