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Cabinet of Local Wonders

The “Cabinet of Local Wonders” is a nomadic exhibition and a series of workshops, gatherings and events in villages in the regions of Antalya (southern Turkey) and Altenburg (East Germany).
COLLABORATION OF Altenburg Hub Antalya Hub

It was created in VAHA Phase II between the partners of the Antalya Hub named VOYN and the Altenburg Hub, together with many local participants and partners in the villages of both regions. Its aim is to highlight rural cultural heritage and connect it in a dynamic, living intercultural way: through meeting each other, cooking together, playing music and sharing dances and of course, through the stories and objects collected and displayed in our “Cabinet of Local Wonders”!

Conceived as a travelling exhibition, the “Cabinet of Local Wonders” shows cultural and natural treasures of two regions, Antalya and Altenburg. The objects exhibited in the cabinet consist of tangible and intangible cultural assets, such as local building material that has survived from the past, old hand tools for harvesting or historic clothing. In addition to authentic objects, you can experience artefacts created especially for the exhibition, works of art, playful gadgets and soundscapes. 

The collection presents locally significant stories. They tell of resisting environmental destruction, of far-travelling hikers on ancient trails or of the passing-down of a farm through the generations. Their poetic, funny, sad or mundane character encapsulates what often is overlooked and therefore forgotten: local wonders, bearing wisdom, knowledge, experience and long-term observations of our natural and social surroundings. While you read this little catalogue, cultural heritage is disappearing due to lack of people who continue its passing-on. Every day. 

The exhibition’s name refers to the “cabinet of curiosities” or “Wunderkammer”, the first prototype of today’s museums. Our cabinet differs from other classical forms of exhibition in that visitors are invited to explore and interact with the objects, rummage through it, listen and read the stories that accompany them while being embedded in a social frame – the cabinet tours through villages, a meeting ground for local communities and curious outsiders. 

The stories have emerged from numerous interviews conducted with people in the regions around Antalya and Altenburg over six months in 2022. When reading the stories in our catalogue [see below], you will notice that they do not disclose from which place exactly they come. In this way, objects gain an additional mysterium typical to a “cabinet of curiosities”, calling for the visitor’s imagination and speculation. Background information to the narrator of the story, such as age or gender, are purposefully ambiguous and shift the focus to the narrative and object-life – the way the contributing person wanted them to be framed. This process opens up a fruitful inner monologue and hopefully sparks curiosity to go on one’s own research for local wonders: by talking to those who (still) hold the knowledge and preserve wonders! 

Along with the cabinet’s objects and stories, our catalogues (available in English, German and Turkish) describe our impressions and work processes, anchored in the collaboration of five civil society organisations within the VAHA cultural programme. This, in turn, shall add new stories and perspectives on collective harvesting across regions. 

Take your time and immerse yourself in ancient knowledge, partly mystical and sometimes confusing, in the “Cabinet of Local Wonders”.

You can download the catalogue through these links:

    German    Turkish 

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