Museutopia – Foreword

Maarav’s Museutopia issue brings together two text and video compilations. One includes talks and articles about Ilya Rabinovich’s national museum photography project recently exhibited at the Israeli Center for Digital Arts. The other documents the Sanhedrin conference held at the center in 2008, which dealt with the relation between museums and nation-states.

The first part of Rabinovich’s project explores and documents national museums in Chișinău (Kishinev), the capital of Moldova, his homeland. The second is a study of eleven military museums in Israel, to which he immigrated as a child. The visual comparison of the museum practices exposes similarities and differences regarding collective memory and forgetting. The articles and talks in this issue discuss these complex relations as highlighted by the project.

The lectures held as part of the Sanhedrin conference referred to the relationship between the museum and nation-state by examining several museum models. The participants – museum directors, researchers and curators from Israel and worldwide – have presented various views on the museum as an ideology dissemination tool and its potential role as a tool of criticism against governments and corporations.

Although differing in both time and form, the two projects seek to provide insights into the same basic issues – the tension and reciprocity between political ideology and the museum’s visual validity, and the historical continuity and narrative constructed in the museum visàvis the national-political reality that is constantly changing around it.