Sunday, January 3, 2010

cabinets of curiosities

something from nick bantock

i've been getting to read so many good things for the class i'm teaching this quarter.

one thing is a book called cabinets of curiosities by patrick mauries.

in it, he says this:

“for the aim of any collection is to halt the passage of time, to freeze the ineluctable progress of life or history, and to replace it with the fragmented, controllable, circular time frame established by a finite series of objects that can be collected in full. . . . while all collection are concerned with the dialectic between disappearance and survival, cabinets of curiosities elevated this obsession to a higher and more rigorous level. Not only did they bring together objects that had eluded or survived the test of time-in itself a cause of wonder- but they also brought together hybrid, luminal objects (suspended between art and nature, death and life), so investing them with new value, new power and new meaning. Like the hero of the Edgar Allen Poe story, the objects in the cabinet of curiosities seem to oscillate perpetually between life and death, returning to life in death, and occupying an eternal no man’s land between the two” (119).

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