Research Projects

Since 2018: On the materiality of (forced) migration. From ‘bare necessities’ to ‘promising things’

The BMBF-funded joint project between Göttingen University’s Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Museum Friedland, and the exhibition agency "Die Exponauten" contributes to a better understanding of the phenomena of flight and migration by exploring the material dimension of human existence. At the center of enquiry is the thesis that the value of protecting life and human dignity is inextricably linked to things.
Things are connected to ascriptions of status and identity, as well as personal aspirations and emotions. This project studies such human-thing relationships in the context of extreme circumstances, focusing on "life in a state of exception" as entailed in situations of flight and migration. Within the project, empirical research on existential human-thing relationships under the conditions of flight and migration is primarily being conducted in the refugee transit camp located in Friedland (Lower Saxony).
Connected to the research is the conception of an interactive exhibition project, developed by "Die Exponauten", in which the results of ongoing research will be continuously presented to the public via an online platform. This exhibition concept will itself constitute a dynamic part of the research process, assessing new constellations of migration-related materialities and points of view and feeding the insights gained back into the project.