“The museumification of the crisis is turning it into a concept of the past.”
Museu da Crise is an international, ongoing social art project initiated in 2011, inspired by the parallel between the abandoned Portuguese Pavilion by the renown architect Siza Vieira and Portugal’s now precarious state. Museu da Crise wants to offer an artistic challenge to the poor market-mindset and the hegemony of the financial sector. Liberalism is the dominant ideology on political, economic and social level worldwide. The free market is the organizing principle par excellence of society and is also commonly believed to be the most efficient ordering principle, but the succession of various crises in recent decades seems to contradict that. It is also questionable whether the free market is the most desirable ordering principle, from an ethical perspective. Within this contemporary context, Museu da Crise collaborates with various social groups to construct new narratives that redefine the social, cultural and economical ideologies on which Europe has been founded. The main objective of Museu da Crise is to ‘museumify’ crisis and to turn it into a concept of the past. The idea for Museu da Crise originated in Portugal; the avant-garde of the Europe that will be, according to the project initiators.
Museu da Crise explores the potential of domestic strategies and parallel economies, which have a strong presence in contemporary society as counter movements, by expanding these strategies from the private, into the community sphere. Museu da Crise does this by implementing them into the existing visible and invisible infrastructures of the city and the urban environment. By doing so, Museu da Crise wants to liberate the basic human needs from the whims of the free market and make them freely accessible to all. Even in times of crisis. Museu da Crise does not have a physical location; it is a conceptual place very much present everywhere, as is the current crisis. Musue da Crise manifests itself in different places during presentations, performances or workshops developed by the project initiators in collaboration with the input of the communities, organisations, institutions and individuals that invite the project.
After a successful first public instalment during Guimarães 2012 – European Capital of Culture, Museu da Crise participated in the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennial that portrays architecture as a living, social and artistic force and examines, encourages and promotes architecture in the broadest sense, both in theory and in practice. Next to that, Muse da Crise hosted a series of workshops during AJUDADA 2013, a three-day event that explored the potential of the gift economy and created an augmented reality experience for Pedras, a yearly performance festival organised by c-e-m centro em movimento that promotes reclaiming the streets and activating public space, in Lisbon in 2014.