If labs and museums have a common origin in the rationality of European Enlightement, I argue that they have been redefined after the Second World War with a contradictory injunction : their collections have to circulate globally, because they concern the public at large, but they have to be secured, because their value increases on the market. The classical need to store collections has been transformed into an injunction to stockpile goods for a coming catastrophe, with different relations to the future. I will illustrate this claim through cases from my research with Influenza experts in Hong Kong and with curators at the musée du quai Branly in Paris. Borrowing the notion of preparedness from the debates in global health, I will show that it sheds light in contemporary debates on the virtual museum and restitution.
Frédéric Keck is a researcher at the Laboratory of Social Anthropology and Director of the Research Department of the Quai Branly Museum . After studying philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley , he has been researching the history of anthropology and contemporary biopolitical questions. He published Claude Lévi-Strauss, une introduction (Pocket-La découverte, 2005), Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, entre philosophie et anthropologie (CNRS Editions, 2008) Un monde grippé ( Flammarion, 2010). He has co-edited (with N . Vialles ) Des hommes malades des animaux, L’ Herne, 2012 and (with A. Lakoff) Sentinel devices„ Limn, 2013.