Reconstruction of Giraffedae Camelopardalis Tippelskirchi [Masai Giraffe] Museum of Natural History, Rome, Susanne Isa 2013
Cabinets of Wonder in the Age of Abundance
Imagine a collection, bridging a period of great uncertainty, at the intersection of postmodernity and a new era of Anthropocenic super-modernity…
This paper will reflect on the origins and driving passions behind great collections of historical Arcana and Natural Curiosa, originating in the private collections of 16th and 17th Century Europe, through to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in California today. We will consider the resistive boundaries between conventions of science and art practice through the unconscious wanderings of true amateurs, unburdened by the corrupting pressures of profit or professionalism. We will examine an unorthodox landscape of curatorialism, a practice presented in a stilted silence with meticulous facts, scientific footnotes, exhibit cards with careful catalogue listings, sources, citations, provenance and a copious use of Latin, all supported by the reassuringly confident tone of a taped narrator.
In an age of on-demand content, encyclopaedic inventories and self-authorship, everyone can operate as their own curator. Holding a mirror up to the role of the exclusive curatorial practice, we will explore complex strands of interwoven narrative and seemingly inexplicable facts, finely balanced on the edge of reason and deliriously bathed in doubt.
Pictured here are some clues: Nature relocated at a zoomorphic juncture of pure metaphor; a curious collection of Presidential vitrines; Rocket Man as ultimate hero, reconstructed with forensic certitude; the self-taught amateur physicist Jim Carter’s alternative theory for the creation of matter - the Other Theory of Physics and the Living Universe.
Abstract Future Cities 3 - Conference University of Greenwich April 10th 2014