This term for “Thematic Exposure”, a tutorial on creating exhibitions, we’re proposing two make-believe exhibitions: first, a time-based exhibition that we’ll focus on for the first seven weeks, and then a culture-based exhibition that we’ll do in the last seven weeks. Of the five of us who are in the course, four work right here in the Admissions office, so you’ll get to see what we’re all doing throughout the term!
My time-based exhibit is going to be a history of modern looting/the commercial exploitation of archaeological sites, from the Napoleonic occupation of Egypt to the mass looting currently going on in places like Iraq and Peru. These photos are some of my favorite examples of how horrifying and violent looting is. They were taken by archaeologists who work in Peru and use photography as a way to cope emotionally with coming across looted sites. As you can see, the looters basically dig holes as deep as they need to in order to get to the graves of people around 800 years old. Then, they tear everything apart in order to get to the most valuable objects, such as precious metals, ceramics, and perfectly preserved textiles. These objects are then sold on the black market for as little as a few dollars to tourists, or for millions of dollars to private collectors. What’s left is a horrifying landscape of body parts and artifacts that have been robbed of respect and of archaeological context. These are the kind of images that get me up in the morning and drive my work at Bennington.
- Meg ‘12