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A Space for Time

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Publication date10/02/2021
Host publicationFutures
EditorsSandra Kemp, Jenny Andersson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780191898358
ISBN (Print)9780198806820
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

PublisherElsevier Limited
ISSN (Print)0016-3287


This essay analyses the role of museums in the creation of futures imaginaries and the ways in which these are embedded in socio-political narratives over time (narratives of nation, empire, power, consumption, and home). The essay tests its hypotheses through charting the evolution of the nineteenth-century phenomenon of the soirée—exhibitions and events showcasing technological, scientific, and cultural innovations of the future—from their heyday in the mid nineteenth century to their demise in the early twentieth century. In particular, the essay explores the social, spatial, and temporal organization of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century soirée display spaces as carriers of future worlds. It argues that the creation of futures imaginaries depends on interrelationships between people and objects across space and time, and that the complex web of relations established between words, objects, spaces, and people in exhibitions provides catalysts for ideas, ideologies, and narratives of the future.