18–19 Oct 2019

Collecting Highland Flotsam: An Exhibition Based on an Archaeology of the Contemporary

Paper presented at the Workshop “Languages, Cultures and Goods along the Silk Road”, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main

Martin Saxer

Soviet Radar stations in the Alai Valley, Kyrgyzstan. Photo: Martin Saxer, 2018.


Along the roads and pathways through the highlands of Asia, things accumulate and tell stories about the dreams and ambitions of yesterday’s tomorrows. The vagaries of trade, development and migration leave layers of material sediments behind. Tapping into these material sediments with a method we call an archaeology of the contemporary, we created an exhibition around this highland flotsam, showing simple, everyday items with cosmopolitan biographies (see www.highlandasia.net/projects/highlandflotsam.html). In this talk, I present the exhibition project and offer a reflection on the possibilities of an archaeology of the contemporary for ethnographic research along the corridors and byways of today’s fantastic silk roads, old and new.

Highland Asia Research Group
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany
martin.saxer@lmu.de | +49 89 2180 9639

Privacy Policy

ERC and LMU logos