Value heaviness of materials

Exhibiting proposal which serves to visualise the temporal values in permanent exhibits.


These podiums reveal the value weight of the material, from the abundance in the past to the shortage of the pure, plastic free salt in the present and future.*

*Research from 2018 shows that from 39 salt examples from all around the world, 36 had micro plastic in them. Laura Parker, “Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt”, National Geographic website, Published October 17, 2018

In early 2019 I started ongoing research and creation of new ideas for systems of exhibiting stories and values connected to objects, as part of intangible cultural heritage represented in museums. The research also includes the exploration of how the aspects and influences of environmental changes affect the intangible heritage and what is a museum role in those dialogues of preservation and change.

To put the idea in the context, I took Nordic museum, which is located in Stockholm and is dedicated to the cultural history and ethnography of Sweden from the 1500s to the contemporary period. For them I created an exhibiting proposal, Heaviness of material & object values, which serves to visualize and highlight the idea that cultural heritage is not just something inherited from the past, but also something that is shaped by the present and will be left for the future.

Food is a huge part of everyday life culture, its production, preparation and consumation. Nordic Museum is a collector and facilitatior of everyday life in Sweden, showcasing different varieties of traditions, among which are also the ones connected to food. Considering its geographical position, and cold climate, food preservation was very important in Sweden, and salt was integral part of it.

“The way a picture or object is hung or placed — its frame or support, its position relative to the viewer (is it high, low, or on a level? Can it be walked around or not? Can it be touched? Can one sit and view it or must one stand?), the light on it (does one want constant light? Focused or diffuse? Should one let natural light and dark play on it and let the light change throughout the day and with the seasons?), and the other objects it is placed with and so compared to — all of these affect how we look and what we see.”

Svetlana Alpers, A way of Seeing, Exhibiting cultures – The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display

I created four podiums, holding the same material – salt, shaped in a sense that is revealing the weight of the material, but rather than its actual weight from the amount of salt, it is showing the value and availability of the pure material. In the past, when the abundance of the pure, plastic-free slat was a cheap and available ingredient, whereas now, in the present, the pure-plastic free salt is more precious than any stone.

© 2023 Karla Rakuljic Kunjasic (Rakuljić Kunjašić). All rights reserved.