Since the enlightenment era, relics of nature have been gathered, studied, and displayed as scientific curiosities in the private collections of the European Elite. Called “Cabinets of Curiosities” or “Cabinets of Wonders,” these early incarnations of the natural history museum served as a social indicator, acting as the physical manifestations of their owners’ enthusiasm for rational science as well as a demonstration of their wealth and power. Showcased in intimacy, the meticulous arrangement of specimens were ceremoniously shown to guests who usually took the tour as a privilege. The artifacts comprising the collection were either found in nature or manufactured by artists and scientists who made history by creating techniques of display to educate the mind and astonish, while simultaneously pleasing the eye of the viewer. This antique confluence of science and elegance exemplified theoretical speculations on medicine, natural history, and ethnography, and ultimately served as a testimony to Nature’s complex variety and source of limitless contemplation.
The DIY Wunderkammer workshop series is curated by Laetitia Barbier and Wilder Duncan for Morbid Anatomy as a creative and pluridisciplinary exploration of the Curiosity Cabinet. The classes will focus on teaching ancient methods of specimen preparation that link science with art: students will create compositions involving natural elements and, according to their taste, will compose a traditional Victorian environment or a modern display.
Classes include: Bat in Dome Workshop, Sunday, March 3