Maria Thereza Alves

Recipes for Survival
Seeing you

Museum of European Normality


Museum of European Normality , 2008

(collaboration with Jimmie Durham)

The Museum of European Normality

Normally museums seek to display the extraordinary but The Museum of European Normality tries to show phenomena and artifacts of every-day life at the (dense!) surfaces of the Europeans’ characters.

It is a collaborative endeavor by Maria Thereza Alves and Jimmie Durham and concentrates on Europe as it has presented itself since the Second World War and ensuing ‘post-colonial’ times. This current period is the first in many centuries where the violence of war, invasion and forced subjugation of religions and cultural differences have given way to standardized affluence.

These days Europeans often measure themselves nervously against ‘non-Europeans’ as a way of identity-making that tries to avoid the dangers of nationalism and military power.

It is not the essence nor the depth of Being in Europe that this Museum looks for, however. It is the habits and tics. Maria Thereza Alves researches the complexity of the habit that Europeans have of staring into each other eyes during a conversation. Alves also investigates some European males necessity of re-affirmation of male-self through public touching rituals of what some may cultures consider the private self. Alves will also present the possibility for the public to participate actively in an exchange program to re-define national cultural policies.

Durham gathered evidence from commerce, popular beliefs, sports and the constant re-enforcement of advertising.

--- within Museum of European Normality are Alves' works: Fair Trade Head, 2007; Oculesics, 2008; Tchám Krai Kytõm Pandã Grét / Male Display Among European Populations, 2008

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