Anthropology and literature are plagued by the impossibility of capturing presence, of simultaneously writing about contemporaneity, and being in the here and now. Rather than salvage the past within an ethnographic present, 20th century anthropologists from Victor Segalen and Michel Leiris to Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs, James Clifford, and Paul Rabinow have attempted to ‘remediate’ alternative states of being, and the appropriation of foreign objects through self-reflexive biographies, psychoanalytic models of cross-cultural interpretation, and the avowal that the anthropological text may be nothing more than a form of fiction. Questioning the relation between writing and ethnography, Clémentine Deliss and Tom McCarthy discuss current approaches to anachronism or temporal disjunction using examples taken from works of art and literature. Here the ‘remainder’ is both the text and the object. Moving between past and present, McCarthy revisits Mallarmé, Musil, Bachmann and Bernhard; and Deliss questions the redundancy and the relevance of ethnographic museums from a 21st century perspective.
Clémentine Deliss (*1960) is the director of the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt. She lives and works in Frankfurt. She is curator and publisher of various publications, amongst others she published Tom McCarthys first novel Remainder.
Tom McCarthy (*1969) is a writer and artist. His first novel Remainder is currently being adapted for the cinema. McCarthy is founder and General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network of writers, philosophers, and artists whose work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Tate Britain in London, and Moderna Museet Stockholm. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction by Yale University.