Museum of Public Concerns

From a collectively built archive, the Museum of Public Concerns fuels debate, using forms of visibility through meetings, publication and exhibition modes. The main issue of the Museum is mining, especially in Minas Gerais, dealing with the cultural and social implications of the state’s mining economy, while also observing the effects of its presence. While mineral extraction is a huge global business dominated by few multinational companies, the damage done to the local landscape and surrounding community is conspicuously absent from local and national public debate. In an effort to raise critical awareness and foster discussion, documentary and photographic material from historical archives are compiled, while field research is done, constituting source content, such as research about the presence of women in the mining fields in Minas Gerais. Donations are collected from media outlets and from public and private sources, such as inspection photos from the government agency responsible for regulating the mining sector [Department of Occupational Health and Safety under the State Ministry of Labor and Employment]. In parallel, a newspaper library and a collection of reproductions of historic images are compiled.

The Museum sheds light on aspects ignored today and in the recent past and produces a counter-history. The largest museum complex implemented in Brazil in recent years has seen state-owned buildings in the state capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, transformed into corporate cultural centers. The Museum of Mines and Metals was built by a mining group and the history of the state is told in another building by the largest multinational mining company. The collective history and cultural production are being dictated by the private sector. In these places relevant questions are ignored, and implications and criticism are absent, while public institutions languish underfunded. The Museum of Public Concerns is an alternative to the corporate rewriting of history. It was initiated within the project World of Matter, an interdisciplinary group of artists and scholars, acting since 2009. [see www.worldofmatter.net]

[2013–] Collection of works and documents, interventions, publications, exhibitions. Collection [mining session]: Cadernos Minerários [2006]; newspaper collection [2010–]; women in the mines [2009–11]; archive of Ministry of Labor and Employment and others; videos, amongst others: Museum of Public Concerns / presentation [4”, 2013]; Mineral Exploitation [19”, 2014]; Closer than Cafundó [24”, 2015].

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