Thing Research Group


Esther Pilkington (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder))
Ulrich Schötker (Erich Kästner Schule Hamburg)

Thing Research Group: Luisa Aschenbrenner, Tuana Erdogan, Marlon Fries, Jonas Frühauf, Charlotte Groth, Nina Holsten, Larissa Raddi, Leif Raeder, Emma Reppenhagen, Jonas Rohde, Miriam Toutabizi, Lone Zippel.

Video: Iskender Kökce

Photos: Daniel Ladnar

How and why do things belong together, and what does the world of the everyday have to do with the world of museums? Those were the questions posed to »Mobile Worlds«. Two and a half years ago, in order to find answers to their questions, a group of fifth-grade students from the Erich Kästner Schule took up »Thing Research«.

As the name suggests, »Thing Research« investigates all kinds of objects—everyday things, favorite things and museum things — and their relations to one another. Alongside the experimental research of different forms of value (What distinguishes a favorite thing? How does one assess the value of a collector’s piece?) as well as the practices of tidying up (Where is the threshold between order and disorder? Which things don’t fit into any category?), we also searched for »Best Friends«: in this quest, affinities were found as individual exhibits were complemented by objects from home. This method led to a samurai sword being placed together with a »Nerf« gun, a Jeff Koons vase with a small porcelain cat, and an old advertising poster from the long-established Hamburg company Hercules Sägemann next to a raw materials list from Minecraft. These friendships emerge non only out of formal similarities and functional commonalities, but also by way of differences, associations, histories and scenarios.

These actions reveal what the best exhibitions, through their spatial ordering of things, texts and images, can achieve: the power to provoke new meanings and new ways of seeing.