The project ‘Metamorphosis’ focuses on aesthetic sensibility and re-activating archival material as a form of resistance, using historical information to enable critical thinking and tease out ideas underlying key questions about colonial collections in museums today. The natural history museum is one of the sites in which to investigate and question the presence of living species and the authority of data linked to colonialism and coloniality.
Nuno Silas proposes to create an intersection related to the aesthetics of art rather than to ethnographic curiosity. He explores multiple forms of interpreting and re-socializing archival material in non-canonical ways using drawings, photographs, sounds, and performance.
Against the backdrop of colonial violence, scientific racism, exploitation, the political context of “discoveries”, and the extraction of objects from their roots, the project exposes tensions between history and the tangible traces of colonialism within museum spaces and their collections.
Cutting images, and sound and performing continuity in change allows us to see the archival material differently. Indeed, this exercise inspires us to rethink the history imposed by the West and to find other ways of telling stories visually. The particular interest in working with museum collections in Berlin shows the ambition and a call for reinterpretation and creative representation.
Nuno Silas uses parts of his body juxtaposed with images, texts, and files to enact the narratives connected to transatlantic slavery in the space of the museum. The triptych is part of a larger exhibition project by Nuno Silas that is planned for 2023.