Als Ensemble is a work, that reflects on the history and bureaucratic practices of ethnographic museums in relation to their role in the colonization of Africa. It takes as a starting point musical instruments, that entered the Sub-Saharan Africa Collection of the Weltmuseum Wien between 1876 and 2007. Instruments that due to their status as archival objects cannot be touched or played anymore. In an attempt to reactivate these muted objects, the work shifts the focus on silence and the background noises of the depot in a post-cagean framework. Here, silence is understood as a sonic trace of a violent history of colonialism in order to point to the institutional practices of state owned museums and collections. The ensemble of this work, comprising objects from different regions and contexts, is only thinkable as a coherent group within the context of the depot. Stored within two adjacent shelves, silently sounding, they echo their instrumentality in contemporary neocolonial politics.
The publication comprises a score to be performed within the depot, an edited selection of the archival documents of the instruments from Weltmuseum as well as a short text about the piece itself. The video is the documentation of the performance of the score.