An article for KLAT Magazine posted 10/12/2010
The original WunderKammer demonstrated the expanded awareness and knowledge of the complexity of nature and altered vision of the world during the Renaissance. Each cabinet reflected the cultural context of its time and introduced new ways of presenting and classifying objects offering an experience that enabled those who could afford it a way, to understand the world and proudly display their new found knowledge and intellectual curiosity.
This online Cabinet of Curiosities (for KLAT Magazine) will be a digital repository of artefacts, ideas, theories and discoveries, speculations and visions of alternative futures. Just as the ‘Wunderkammer’ of the 16th Century invited the viewer to wonder through its room of curiosities, this online feed will offer a juxtaposition of fact and superfictions, of disparate objects and encouraged comparisons, prompting you to find analogies and parallels between art, design, philosophy and science.
Originally devised in Renaissance Europe in the mid 1500s as an early way to categorise the uncategorisable, the Cabinet of Curiosities or Kunstkammer also served to demonstrate the proprietors world view and status through the symbolic arrangement of the display. The true kunstkammers were expensive to establish, and were therefore for purely economic reasons restricted to the nobility. These microcosms of the world offered a place of solace and retreat for contemplation and were the precursor to museums, providing the opportunity to bring together obscure objects of natural history as well as man-made ephemera.
The collection of artifacts are often centered around a certain subject merging together each display with a blend of historical fact with fictional narrative and scientific method to recreate the sense of wonder that the old cabinets of curiosity once aroused. The museum challenges the visitor to consider the often-unchallenged institutional authority of traditional museums and does so by indulging in elaborate descriptions that make the whole museum a mysterious and uncanny experience. The term ‘museum’ means a place dedicated to the muses — where man’s mind could attain solace above everyday affairs, The Museum of Jurassic Technology creates a separate reality that imbues its visitors with the means to look at mundane ordinariness with a new sense of wonder.