Monday, 2 June 2014

UNNATURAL HISTORY

I handed in my dissertation today, to celebrate this exciting occasion I ate a burrito the size of a sleeping bag, went to the Natural History Museum (alone) and took photos of (dead) things on my (dying) phone. I then walked home and took a three hour nap. I know u guys, just remember this is the internet yeah? My life is less #aspirational offline.

The Natural History Museum in Oxford offered visual delights such as this:


Put a stuffed...creature (wombat? vole? Idk) in front of a painted backdrop of the garden of eden=much curation! such museum studies! But srsly is this photo the most hilarious thing? Maybe it's in the curve of Eve's arm's rubbing against the stunted furry posture of the hamster beast. Maybe it's because I'm sleep deprived. I DON'T KNOW BUT I THINK THIS PHOTO IS REALLY FUNNY.



Natural history museums, like all museums really, hinge on the premise of death. But unlike the Pitt Rivers, a museum of scientific darwinism, that lives within the same walls as these funny bird-is-the-werd displays and fuzzy stuffed animals, the kind that look like you can pick up and cuddle, hiding in its basement: growing out of its belly like those ugly growth things on whales-the curatorial Heart of Darkness in Oxford's history of teaching The Native, Learning the Native (an industry I can assure you is thriving, just thriving)- no, unlike the Pitt Rivers, death is less of a crime against humanity, and more a sweet natured after school special, the kind where maybe someone's dog dies, but then an animatronic incarnation of its likeness flies thru the kids window and teaches him the importance of, Idk, looking after stationery supplies or some shit like that. It's Wes Anderson death, vintage death, cute and creepy, not straight up clutch your face in horror and say 'oh god!' 



It is quite cute really, the way they stuff the creatures, it turns sharks to well loved teddy bears.


This is not cute however, but it looks like a Francis Bacon painting, so that's both cool and cathartic. 



I'm not sure if it was my lack of sleep or my obsessive fear of pregnancy but this kangaroo really reminded me of the virgin mary, which in my head sounded profound as fuck but typed out sounds like something a lunatic would say. 


The dodo is the mascot of both the museum and the university, this is...fitting. I cannot elaborate without stating the obvious, but I will say that I once saw a dodo vs tyrannosaurus rex rap battle conducted by an Oxford undergrad at 8am on May Day, and that the House of Norham Gardens with its time travelling talk of empire, of tribal rituals and magical brown people, is the best representation of Oxford's peculiar attitudes towards the borders of time.



With its plaster, its industrial body, this looks like a Joseph Beuys piece. This is a good thing. Like if this was in an art gallery I would probably say something real profound like 'this kinda reminds me of Joseph Beys.' I'm smart like that.

Now I have a taste for shit pics of natural history museums here's a selection teased from tagged Facebook photos and old mobile phones. These are even worse coz they have me INTERACTING with the display in them. LIVING MUSEUMS. Urgh. I suck. I'm going to stop talking now, and let the pictures humiliate me on my behalf.









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