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Museum of the Ordinary — New York City

by Peter Biľak

In 1997 Michael Rock and Susan Sellers (assisted by Alice Twemlow and Ole Scheeren) proposed a concept for a museum of design where objects are left in their original context instead of being removed from their natural environment. The Museum of the Ordinary was defined by four points in New York City and comprised 30 streets in Manhattan. The collection of this museum contained all the objects which happened to be in the given space. Pedestrians were turned into museum visitors and confronted with museum conventions, for example, descriptive labels attached to everyday objects such as manholes, city signage, street lamps, buildings, etc. The project questioned the traditional museum practice of decontextualising objects and presented an integrated alternative as well as the stories of these seemingly mundane objects. Today the authors are exploring the possibility of creating a virtual version of the museum.

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