Past events
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Initiated by a burning museum in Brazil, the Das Museum Sem Nenhum Caráter project spanned over two years, encompassing a series of workshops and subsequently resulting in the following publication. The full version is free to access here.

With workshop and publication contributions by Denilson Baniwa, Mabe Bethônico, Nego Bispo, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Michael Dieminger, Chandra Frank, Andrei Fernández, Sara Garzón, Paulo Knauss, Noé Martínez, Thaís Mayumi Pinheiro, Ivan Muñiz-Reed, Julia Richard, María Sosa and Rolando Vázquez

The project’s initiation resulted from the tragic fire, which almost entirely devastated the Museu Nacional de Rio de Janeiro’s collection and building. With some 20 million objects, the collection is one of the most important in Latin America and the world, with the loss including perhaps the last testimonies, in the form of artefacts or language records, of the numerous Indigenous communities in Brazil.


The collaborative project Das Museum Sem Nenhum Caráter took its inspiration from the novel Macunaíma: O herói sem nenhum caráter by Mario de Andrade and gathered a variety of practitioners and thinkers to explore questions surrounding decolonial curatorial practices and the evolving of museum concepts around care. In particular, the digital workshops held throughout 2021-2022 addressed questions of how a pluralisation of narratives and perspectives can become visible and the role translation, fictionalization and the voids in collections is within museums and their narratives.

Over the course of several digital workshop sessions, the project invited participants to share their thoughts and responses on the subjects of postcolonial curating, translation and fiction and subsequently resulted in the publication of a rich and multilingual compilation of essays, photographs, a poem and a recipe. The contributions are primarily in Portuguese, English and Spanish. The contributors were free to choose which language they wished to write in and no contribution is translated. By including different languages, we want to offer multiple access points for contributors and readers, rather than limit our audience.  We want to understand a museum as a place for plurality, whether through multilinguality, different forms of expression, or diverse ways of looking at the world. This plurality resists the notion of understanding everything, and resists the idea of the universal museum.


A workshop and publication by Michael Dieminger and Thaís Mayumi Pinheiro


Organization by Goethe-Institut Rio de Janeiro / Supported by Foreign Minister Germany / A collaboration between Humboldt Forum Berlin and Museu Nacional de Rio de Janeiro

Federal Foreign Office
Museu Nacional de Rio de Janeiro

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