Caring for the past, preparing for the future: Museums of virology, ornithology and anthropology as asian reservoirs (Frédéric Keck)

Abstract: If humans care for the past, it is because the future is uncertain. And yet most often, caring for the past leads humans to envision the future as if it was inscribed in the past. Now, the global threats mankind has become recently aware of – such as global epidemics or climate change – include phenomena whose probability cannot be entirely calculated. How does this new situation impact institutions traditionally devoted to observing and collecting the past?
 
This lecture focuses on the history and the current development of three types of museums, in the fields of virology, ornithology and anthropology. It argues that relations between humans, birds and viruses are central to the way we currently care for the past and prepare for the future.
 
As a Western invention, museums were linked to the nation-oriented development of European science, and organized collections around the evolutionist paradigm of “prevention”. It has now become a global device articulated to techniques of “preparedness”, anticipating possible extinction of both humans and non-humans. Reflection on this fundamental shift leads us to go beyond apparent oppositions between natural reserves and cultural museums, between global health and global art. It also helps us to reconsider the role of science and imagination in facing global challenges.

怀过去,面向未来--病毒学、鸟类学和人类学博物馆的变迁 

摘要:如果人类关心过去,是因为未来是不确定的。然而,大多数情况下,关爱过去会让人类想象未来,就好像它被铭刻在过去一样。现在,人类意识到的各种全球性威胁,包括全球性流行病或气候变化。这种新形势如何影响传统上致力于观察和收集过去的机制呢?

本讲座重点介绍三类博物馆的历史和现状,即病毒学、鸟类学和人类学博物馆。本文认为,理解人类、鸟类和病毒之间的关系有助于我们关心过去、展望未来。

作为西方的发明,博物馆与欧洲科学以民族为导向的发展联系在一起,围绕着预防(prevention的进化论范式组织了收藏活动。它现在已经成为一种全球性机构,展示出已准备(preparedness技术,预测人类和非人类可能发生的灭绝。对这个根本性转变的反思,让我们超越了自然保护区与文化博物馆,全球健康与全球艺术之间明显的对立。博物馆有助于我们重新审视科学与想象力在面对全球性挑战中的作用


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