Museum of MonstrologyMiriam Hillawi Abraham & Heejoon June Yoon
Cyanotype / 2023
Backwater, Pocoapoco, Oaxaca, Mexico
“I want to stay with the trouble, and the only way I know to do that is in generative joy, terror, and collective thinking.”
- Donna Haraway, Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene
The Museum of Monstrology (est 2023) is a research-based artist collective between multidisciplinary designers Miriam Hillawi Abraham and Heejoon June Yoon.
As the archivists of the Museum of Monsterology, our mission is to create a digital bestiary of what we deem “necessary monsters”, from the primeval to the inconceivable future. Necessary monsters spawn in distinct geographies and timelines, appearing and disappearing in lore as omens, warnings of the unknown or what will come to be.
How do these monsters or mutating bodies force us to reconsider ideas of territory and belonging?
Anatomies of our Monsters, Pocoapoco, Oaxaca, Mexico
“The words ‘monster’, ‘monstrosity’ and ‘monstrousness’ all have their etymological root in the Latin monstrare, meaning both to show and also to warn or advise.” - Alexa Wright, Monstrosity: The Human Monster in Visual Culture
We collect these beings in an evolving bestiary, luring them out from shadow and poaching them to build our collections like historians of a bygone era. Ours is a process of transmutation (imaginatively interpreting dreams and lore through visual media) and classification (manufacturing fictional evidence and retroactive myths to situate them in our present). As our shared concepts of normative realities alter based on the needs and desires of society’s present day conditions, monsters of yore are banished, forgotten, disappeared or debunked in place of new fearful creatures that lurk just outside our understanding. The monster also represents The Other, a transgressive figure beyond the frame of the understanding or empathy of the Colonial figure. Unfamiliar and exotic, the monster often emerges as a negative reflection, or inversion of what is considered the normal body, sometimes a corrosive distinction between citizen and foreigner, colonizer and subaltern.
How do we see ourselves in the image of the monster?