I’m just going to go ahead and get this out
since I can’t actually write what I’d like to due to decorum or some shit:
“This is a museum built around a collection. Where everything serves to draw out the emotions at play within the primal object, where everything is done to shield it from light while capturing that rare sunbeam, so necessary for the vibrancy of a spiritual presence. It is a place marked by symbols of forest and river, and the obsessions of death and oblivion. It is a sanctuary for works conceived in Australia or in America that are scorned and censured today. It is a haunted place, wherein dwell and converse the ancestral spirits of those who discovered the human condition and invented gods and beliefs. It is a strange, unique place, poetic and disturbing.”
I don’t know what kind of racist, primitivist crack architect Jean Nouvel was smoking when he presented this brilliant gem of an explanation for his shitshow on the Quai Branly, but whatever it was, it really fucked him up. That said, his eloquence is remarkable, given that what he’s really saying is “I ripped off an episode of Scooby Doo and a couple of the Indiana Jones movies and called it a day.” Perhaps Nouvel missed the memo about the museum’s stated motto being “a place where cultures dialogue,” or rather he misread it as “a place where raving insane assumptions about imaginary Native savages are perpetuated ad nauseam.” Luckily, the founder of the museum, Jacques Chirac, is also a racist asshat and was 100% behind Nouvel’s decision to meet the opportunity to create a truly postcolonial museum capable of interacting with both France’s colonial past and with vibrant, plural Indigenous presents with a resounding “Nah.” Haunted place? Ancestral spirits? Invented gods and beliefs? THIS IS A RIGIDLY SECULAR COUNTRY, MOTHERFUCKERS! YOU DON’T EVEN LET MUSLIM WOMEN WEAR HIJAB TO SCHOOL, BUT YOU’RE TELLING ME YOU PLANNED A WHOLE FUCKING MUSEUM AROUND THE IDEA OF ANCESTRAL SPIRITS? Oh wait, that’s fine, because nonspecific “ancestral spirits” are just some vague elements of the Heart of Darkness fuckery westerners have been making up for centuries! And Indigenous spiritual beliefs are just “invented” anyway! THANKS JEAN NOUVEL I GET IT NOW, YOU REALLY ARE A GENIUS OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE AFTER ALL.
…this has been a rage blackout. Back to work.