Constellations of Memory and Representation: A Lunar Sample Display in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, in Troelenberg, Eva-Maria, Schankweiler, Kerstin und Messner, Anna Sophia (Hrsg.): Reading Objects in the Contact Zone, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2021 (Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality, Band 9), S. 92–107. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.766.c10409

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-96822-049-9 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-050-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-3-96822-051-2 (Softcover)




Eva-Maria Troelenberg

Constellations of Memory and Representation

A Lunar Sample Display in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi

Abstract This chapter looks at a wall display which was on view since the 1970s in Abu Dhabi’s first national museum in the oasis town of Al Ain. Created in the aftermath of the United Arab Emirate’s independence, this display combined traditional visual topoi of the Arab Peninsula with pho­tographic and material  testimonies of modernization and progress. Its his­torical narrative, presented as an almost ‘Warburgian’  image atlas, thus comprises a long history ranging from pre-Islamic times to the contem­porary age of space exploration. As such, it represents a dynamic constel­lation of history which goes beyond the binary notions of tradition versus progress or the ‘global’ versus the ‘local’ which are often prevalent in Orien­talist discourses. At the same time, it represents the region’s entanglement with the fossil-driven economies of the late twentieth century.

Keywords United Arab Emirates, National Museums, Photography, Orientalism, Space