Curious Jars

Author: Reporter, Exhibitions, Reporter, Visits, Visual Research

My focus on nature is usually centred around botany. However I seized the opportunity to observe a new type of nature for the sake of documenting a place or activity before starting the new studio project. Thus, I ventured to the Natural History Museum to find out about animals. As there is so much to see there, I chose to focus on the preserved zoology collection displayed at the Darwin Centre.

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I found this display to be intriguing because of how well preserved these specimens were which made the observation of them, in the jars behind the glass cabinets in which they were curated, somewhat surreal. They’re almost frozen in time due to the preservation but they’re in fact dead. The variation of jar sizes as well as the unusual forms the specimens within it take make you almost squeal with disgust yet still want to look up close against the cabinet.

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I think I was so drawn to this particular exhibition at the museum because of the representation of nature. The presentation of these specimens through the cabinets and the dimly lit space adds to the mysticism and wonder, reminding me of the Victorian cabinet of curiosity.

The basis of much of my work is observational so seeing how factual material can be displayed in a way that evokes curiosity is something to bare in mind. Even more so with the new studio brief focusing on the role of the reporter thus factual information and narrative.

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