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Shroud, Bury, Return

Shroud, Bury, Return reimagines the museum typology: what becomes of the museum when it is no longer needed in its original conception? This story is about letting go, to both objects and architecture. What new forms of return can exist in these temporalities, spaces, and continents?

Our endeavor is one of shrouding, deconstructing, and autonomizing NMAfA’s looted artifacts, one that requires an extreme scale of time. Our fully erected burlap shroud disrupts the legibility that gives the obelisk power, reading a multiplicity of forms and anthropomorphic tributes to unseen laborers who built this very structure. While the obelisk initially serves as the core spine of our space, our structures work to hold objects and deconstruct the very largest artifact of empire. With the obelisk torn down, the art space remains as a middle passage while these looted objects await their return. As more are retuned and/or put to rest, our structure is no longer needed. The iconography of the obelisk and our structure are denied any longevity.

In dealing with the various fates of restitution, we hold to the idea of creating new notions around permanence. The shroud becomes a vessel of heritage: one that grants a new return.