Objects of power and remediation: Health, ecology and museum collections

Online lecture by Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz / Q & A with Zuzana Jakalová

January 19, 2023, 6 pm
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Event will be held in English

Historical collections are inherently biased, the inequalities that exist in human societies are reflected in our institutional holdings: objects, archives, taxonomies and interpretation. Museum collections often reinforce normative and binary approaches to human and non-human life, separating nature and culture, mind and body, the sick and the healthy. However, collections – and their archives – have an incredible potential to develop artistic programmes dealing with urgent issues in relation to social and environmental justice.

This lecture will address curatorial methodologies to support critical, reparative and pleasurable readings of museum collections, more specifically those dealing with health and ecology. We will cover developments in curatorial practices that foreground access and inclusion in the development and materialisation of exhibitions, as well as design strategies for reducing environmental impact. The lecture will focus on three projects developed over the last four years at Wellcome Collection, London and Gropius Bau, Berlin, which engaged artists such as Patricia Domínguez, Oreet Ashery and Johana Hedva in the research process, exhibition design, objects’ interpretation and ultimately discourse transformation.

Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz is a curator and researcher. Since 2021 she is director of exhibitions and the collection at Centro Botín, Santander, Spain, where she has curated Ellen Gallagher and Edgar Cleijne: a law … a blueprint … a scale and where she is currently developing solo presentations of artists Roni Horn and Eva Fábregas. From 2014 until 2022 she was curator at Wellcome Collection, London, where she developed an artistic programme on the politics of health and ecology including Ayurvedic Man (2018), Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies (2019 –20) and Rooted Beings (in collaboration with La Casa Encendida). Most recently, she co-curated YOYI! Care, Repair, Heal at Gropius Bau (2022-23) with Brook Andrew, Kader Attia with Giscard Bouchotte, Natasha Ginwala, Stephanie Rosenthal and SERAFINE1369.

Bárbara is the editor of HEALTH: Documents of Contemporary Art co-published by the MIT Press and Whitechapel Gallery. She has written for Afterall, Concreta, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Gwangju Biennale, MARG and Mousse Publishing. She has been guest lecturer at Goldsmiths, London College of Communication and Central St Martins. She holds a Master in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London.

Zuzana Jakalová is a curator, researcher and writer. She currently works as an Assistant professor at UMPRUM – Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague in the Fine Arts Studio 1 (w Dominik Lang). She worked as a curator, researcher and organiser at Display – Association for Research and Collective Practice and as a curator of public programs at the City Gallery Bratislava. She is the author and co-curator of a long-term discoursive project Multilogues on the Now examining intersections of feminism, disability, notions of health and coallitions of care in contemporary art and society (with Hana Janečková). She is the author and editor of a thematic czecho-slovak bookseries .txt, consisting of essays on socially and politically urgent yet publicly underrepresented topics. She recently finished her PhD at the Faculty of Arts at Technical University in Brno researching feminist notions of emotional labor, disability politics, ecomonies of care and dehierarchising expertise in contemporary curatorial and institutional art practice. She publishes widely in Flash Art CZ / SK, A2,, Kapitál, and others.


Event is part of the How to Live Together? series of conversations curated by Judit Angel, Alessandra Pomarico, Borbála Soós, Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu within the Art Connected 2022 – 2023 subprogram of

ERSTE Foundation is main partner of tranzit.
Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.

Media partners:, Flash Art CZ & SK,

Jo Spence & Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies, Wellcome Collection, 2019-20
Curators: Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz and George Vasey.
3D: David Khon Architect. 2D: Mark El-Khatib