Curiosity Cabinets came into vogue in the 15th Century. They were wooden cabinets with many drawers and shelves of different sizes that were used to display a collection of artifacts, usually connected with a theme. Doctors, religious figures, scientists and artists were many kinds of citizens that would build a collection and use the curiosity cabinet to display their possessions. The original cabinets were considered the pre-cursor to the museum. Usually the theme of the cabinet was related to the collector’s profession. A scientist could display botanical collections or medical oddities, while a priest might collect and display reliquaries or religious artwork. Many times curiosity cabinets were the only place for commoners to glimpse exotic pieces like the horn of a rhino or chinaware from the Orient. These miniature museums were an attempt to classify science and civilization while the world was still amorphous. Many of these classifications were a strange hybrid of religion, science and superstition that are now considered obsolete.
You can read more about Curiosty Cabinets at these sites:
Our Curiosity Cabinet is very much in the tradition of the original cabinets. We are collectors and our display is a miniature museum of the mind. Our cabinet explores the unconscious and the artifacts that surface in our own psyches that are themselves difficult to define or explain. They are as exotic, strange and intriguing to us as the horn of a rhino was to a peasant living in 15th century England. In an attempt to display the unconscious and put the bits and pieces of our psyche in the confines of tiny drawers, the glimpses and suggestions will mean something different to every person that will explore the cabinet.
Our cabinet is made out of an old card catalog and each drawer is a display created by a different mind and psyche. Different participants will offer up their presentation to be a part of the larger exhibit.
The Curiosity Cabinet of the Collective Unconscious will be on display in the Funhouse constructed underneath The Man at BM2005. It will also be displayed in the future at other art and Burning Man events.
|The Curiosity Cabinet at The Hive Gallery
On August 6th 2005 we had a special opportunity to see our project realized before we take it to Burning Man. We installed The Cabinet and it’s contents of 30 drawers individually constructed by over 25 artists at The Hive Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. Those who were not going to Burning Man or other contributors had the opportunity to come on down and see it. It was a huge success with people lining up to look inside the drawers. Click Here to see some shots of the event. We will be documenting all the drawers with more formal photography on this site in the future.