If anything has become clear to all of us in recent years, it is that everyone seems to choose his or her own truth. ‘Truth’ is whatever fits you best. Trump’s ‘alternative facts’ are a natural consequence of the ongoing erosion of the shared perspectives. In 2011, on my farewell from the National Glass Museum, I compiled a good number of separate texts, in a more or less reasoned context, on how we can meaningfully connect museums to relevant questions and needs in society. The museum as a tool for tuning your personal compass. In the preface to The Transparent Body [Dutch], I wrote:
The most important understanding came in gradually: the fact that the relevance issues that [we were seeing in museums and in the arts and sciences] actually play out across society. They apply to all social and cultural institutions like the political parties, the judiciary, the banks, the media and you name it. The museum crisis has turned out to be a much broader, society-wide transition. It is the changing culture itself that is tugging at the doors and windows of our institutions. All these institutions are trying to resist to these changes by appealing to their own qualities and their own values. But those values and those qualities are no longer being recognised or even acknowledged by the people for whom these institutions work.
The Transparent Body [Dutch].
Five essays on quality in a diffused world. How the changing culture is reshaping our institutions.