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Museums - Aesthetics of Preserving

by Smita Khadri

7th May 2011, Frankfurt, an alpha world city celebrated “A Night of Museums”.

Museums are pride of Europe, every city has a couple of them. Frankfurt is no exception, only that it is home to 48 of them! One day, every spring, the museums are opened throughout the night until the early hours of the next day. The variety is amazing - Historical, Art, Architectural, Philosophical, Astrophysics, Applied sciences, Modern life to Crime Museums.

The crowd composition indicated the young, the old and the children’s interest was being adequately taken care of.The enthusiasm was very infectious.
The art of preserving, sustenance is yet to metamorphose and find a place in the list of art forms. The museum concept has been conceived and exhibited as store houses of past, rather than the power houses for the future.
This brought to memory one of the arguments from a science fiction comedy, "Hitch Hiker’s Guide to Galaxy", the inhabitants are asked, should some external force presenting imminent destruction to Earth as the inhabitants, of what use is humanity, what should humanity’s response be? The argument continues that the only justification humanity could give for its continued existence would be the past creation and continued creation of things like Shakespeare play, a Rembrandt painting or a Bach concerto. The suggestion is so obvious, these are the things of value which define Humanity!

Indian aesthetics has a very rich, long list, majority of them falling under the "lost" section. This may be attributed to the volatile socio-politico-economic phase of evolution the subcontinent has witnessed. Purandara Dasa, widely regarded as the "Father of Carnatic music", historians propose the number of his compositions to as many as 75,000- 4,75,000 songs in Kannada language, though only 1000 of his songs are extant !

Museum for Communication, Frankfurt

The art of preserving, sustenance is yet to metamorphose and find a place in the list of art forms. The museum concept has been conceived and exhibited as "store houses of past" rather than the "power houses for the future", attracting only the art lovers, and artists.

Art has been attributed to beauty. But there has been no field which has not used the notion of art, be it Philosophers, Anthropologists, Artists, Psychologists & Programmers all have given it an operational definition in their own way. These neo-museums of course have the store of past, but an active present is given equal emphasis through interactive workshops and space to define art for today’s gadget savvy generation. Concepts like private-public partnership, loaning private collections are a way to bring art to everyone. Rethinking on the definition of Art and including modern applied sciences as an art is a step towards culturisation of art.

As Mahatma Gandhi wrote on Beauty, "Why can’t you see the beauty of colours in vegetables? And then, there is beauty in the speckless sky. But no, you want the colour of the rainbow which is a mere optical illusion. We have been taught to believe that what is beautiful need not be useful and what is useful cannot be beautiful. I want to show that what is useful also can be beautiful !"


Imagine being able to see artwork in the greatest museums around the world without leaving your chair. Driven by his passion for art, Amit Sood tells the story of how he developed Art Project to let people do just that.