the Dollhouse (film)
For decades, the attic of the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam housed a number of life-size dolls –
forgotten and covered in dust, until Blokland discovered their special history.
Made in 1938 by German doll maker Käthe Kruse, who had been commissioned by the museum, they
became the embodiment of the Dutch colonies at the 1939 World Exhibition in New York. In this
work ‘Reproduction of family part 5: The Dollhouse’ (2019) I reflect on the history and role of props as
museum productions in relation to colonial histories. By zooming in on the skin of these dolls,
damaged by the passage of time, and on the context of their history of origin. In a critical narrative,
I gives a voice to the props as forgotten colonial objects and examines the ideas surrounding their
creation and presentation. With this work, I question the role of the museum as a producer of
‘culture’ when it comes to colonial and post-colonial histories, and the use of imitated human beings
as exhibited objects.
Material: installation using text, photography and film
2.28 min. film Fragment The Dollhouse 22 min. year: 2020