The ‘Museum of the future’ was an investigation into collecting culture. The initial presentation comprised of a collection of exhibits celebrating the wonders of Oz and an audio tour.

It was first presented at Metro Arts, Brisbane in 1997.

Since then, it has been exhibited at a number of conferences as a performance/paper. It was featured as part of:

  • ‘Postcolonialism: Representing difference’, University of South Australia, Topic: ‘Museum of the future’ in 1998
  • ‘Identities in Action’, University of Aberystwyth, Wales, Topic: ‘workshopping the museum of the future’ in 1999

Here is the transcript to the guided tour

Welcome to Oz

The museum of the future
a space where the collection, consumption and capitalism coexist in perfect harmony
a space where artefacts and souvenirs are interchangeable metaphors
used to describe that illustrious term revered by all – ART

Metro Arts exhibition 1997
Metro Arts exhibition 1997

And now a word from our sponsors….

The first exhibit of the tour is the tee-shirt collection. The tee- shirt first escalated to fame in the 1970s where the official Aussie attire came to the fore as the casual fashion statement of the universe. Usually accessorised with a pair of rubber thongs, stubbies and a terry towelling hat, this fashion ensemble made headlines, and was the precursor to later national archetypes such as the Yobbo and Ocker. This image was exported overseas as our national identity, accompanied by the famous and immortal words of Paul Hogan ‘Throw another prawn on the barbie’. This phrase was then translated to ‘Throw another shrimp on the barbie’ for those not conversant with Australian terminology.


Please enjoy this message from our sponsors…

Exhibit number two – this piece titled ‘ashtray’ captures the permanence of plastic combined with the consumed substance widely known as butts or ash. The dichotomy of solidity or permanence and transient or temporary is wretched apart by the inevitable consumption of the cigarette. Go ahead and have one, in the museum of the future all items on display will be not only for the eyes to consume but for the rest of the body as well. As you can observe, there are no security personnel observing the actions of the audience. BBT Inc. estimates that millions of dollars will be saved in this new strategic approach to museum and gallery practice. This radical new museology also solves the problem of acquiring and storing artwork, as the collection exists only as photographic documentation, and housed on the world wide web for greater audience potential. Copyright will no longer be an issue either as artists or benefactors receive an automatic royalty payment whenever someone hits their site. All major credit cards and eftpos are welcome on this global ripoff for all

Ash tray
Ash tray

and here’s another message from our sponsors…

In this work, we are presented with a temporary charcoal drawing of a cowgirl and her essential weapons- a banana gun and holster, and a mobile banana with cover. A delightful work for the Freudian psychoanalysists in the audience, who wish to ponder upon all of the metaphorical connotations of this work. Anyway, just have it, anyway you like, the interpretation is up to you in the museum of the future, knowledge is only what you bring to the object, not what the curator wishes to push as the truth.

Cowgirl after Warhol
Cowgirl after Warhol

we’ll return soon after this short message from our sponsors…

The trashcan, symbol of  the abject in all of us. This work epitomises the wastefulness of the western identity. By using plastic as the main component of this piece, we are assured that all waste may be contained, until transferred to another larger plastic host, which transports the unwanted matter to the dump. In two million years, these items, along with atomic and chemical waste will be our contributions to historical collections throughout the world, the lasting legacy of our culture. The exterior decorative landscape images on this trashcan symbolise the fixation of western culture to represent itself as noble and landloving, an act of overcompensation for the repeated atrocities inflicted upon the environment. This work represents the historical archetypes of our colonial past, whilst not forgetting the abject dualism that exists in such narratives.


and back to our sponsors…

This lamp shines a light on the beauty and practical value of the teatowel. Though its uses are usually limited to cleaning up in the kitchen or as ornamentation on the walls of the home, the teatowel has the capacity to be transformed into a plethora of practical and impractical objects. In this case, its use as a lampshade cover demonstrates its capacity to veil meaning and purpose to the audience. Can you explain why it has been used for this purpose? We at BBT Inc. are not totally certain either, but believe that any specific meaning is valid in the eyes of the beholder- perhaps it serves as an illumination of the soul. But I doubt it…it is more likely that this work is merely a cheap stab at the function of tourism to make any object a souvenir and thus a commodity.


We are now at the conclusion of the tour
We trust that you have enjoyed your journey to the ‘museum of the future’
please join us again sometime….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s