The Exotic is Never at Home

Still image from The Exotic is Never Home YouTube Video

The aim of this project is to understand the relationship between the act of collecting and conservation, the constitution of private and public natural history collections, and the importance of institutions, such as the Field Museum, in the construction and development of knowledge in the postcolonial context of the Americas. Natalia Piland (PhD candidate, Evolutionary Biology, UChicago) and Jacobo Zambrano (SAIC MFA candidate 2020, Sculpture) will address these thematics through a short documentary film (with the potential to become a feature film) with the support of both the departments of Conservation and Museum Collections at the Field Museum. By interrogating the underlying historical narratives that conceive the museum as a space for education and dissemination of knowledge, we will challenge notions of function, accessibility, and community engagement in our present context. Following the museum's current effort to implement ethical and socially engaged models, we ask: Could natural history museums be decolonized?