Redesigning Museums

Paris, le trottoir et la plage
Seminar Week: October 23–27, 2023


The Opera Garnier being restored. The capital invests in cleaning up its major monuments in preparation for the Olympics. January 2023

Expansive boulevards, formal gardens, infinite arcades, limestone facades and zinc roofs – the 19th century historic core of Paris appears immutable and more than a little hermetic. The grand cultural institutions embedded within the city – the Louvre, Palais Garnier, La Comédie Française, Musée du quai Branly – have an imperious presence consistent with their monumentality and an authority bestowed by the centralised structures of power. Beside this republican weight, the citizens of France are notoriously practiced revolutionaries, with a readiness to protest and set things alight. These are not merely the actions of the mob, but rather developed political mechanisms supported and theorised by diverse networks of public intellectuals.

We will visit Paris to engage with its great institutions at a time of institutional crisis brought on by the ever-increasing acknowledgement of how the inequities of empire are still rotting at the core of contemporary life. By interrogating the origins of collections and the stories they tell we will try to discern what can replace a discredited western canon. We will have this discussion with the members of those institutions and equally with cultural activists working at the periphery, the places where the stone runs out but where culture, learning and society can experiment with new forms. Our search will span from the 1st arrondissement to Pantin, where Emily in Paris meets la Haine.

The costs are 501–750 CHF including transportation within the city, one dinner, entrances and reader.
Category C, 16 students

HS 2023, ETH Zürich, Studio Caruso
Emilie Appercé, Tibor Bielicky, Adam Caruso, Claudio Schneider, Barbara Thüler