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  • Writer's pictureTomislav S. Šola

The value of paraphrasing “Black box” in understanding museums



When it appears in my texts, the syntagm "Black box" is meant as a metaphor for a flight recorder device in an aircraft, alluding (because of its perfection and automatism) to any sort of condensed, diligently and responsibly recorded memory. In its figurative sense, it may be inspirational to museums and other memory institutions because it suggests their implied, almost obligatory objectivity that derives from their scientific responsibility acquired upon the research of large, recorded memory: individual, collective, social... It may also remind us of the core of their mission: though being impartial chroniclers of the society they serve, at the same time, they are servicing its wise, genuine developmental needs, - almost as its conscience. This moral responsibility and wisdom are the extracted final product out of a recording, - sedimented and filtered to serve the community’s best needs and interests. The collections and the documentation on research remain always the „recorder” to be opened at any time needed to revise and improve the conclusions. The modern museum welcomes the community’s participation and insight into the very philosophy and mechanism of forming what should be called public memory. If this would be lecturing, then the metaphor would stretch to all memory institutions in a society, because only combined, as a part of a system and the same strategy can form a profession of public memory curators who would be able to fight for a world that learns from its past. If they remain dismembered and manipulated into meaningless specialisations, estranged from any decision-making, and even not obliged to educate for the profession, - they will never have it happen. So, both the rulers liking the unlimited power and scientists preferring their ivory tower (the rhyme is a hype), - may continue to enjoy.



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