Cabinet of Curiosity, Undergraduate Thesis
Cait’s Cabinet of Curiosity
Traditional cabinets of curiosity were rooms or buildings devoted to housing objects collected during trade and travel. Diverse assemblages of oddities; relics of the sciences, anthropology, and art were displayed together. Cabinets emerged in the 1500’s and were the predecessors of modern museums.
The juxtaposition of such seemingly disparate objects allowed man, for the first time, to view the world as a dynamic place. A world not controlled by a static divine hand, but through the endless transformations of natural history. Consequently man began rejecting doctrines that had prevailed since ancient Greece through the Middle Ages. This new philosophy sparked the scientific inquiry of the renaissance, leading to the scientific revolution of the 17th century.
My cabinet of curiosity is comprised of objects collected through travels and studies. The objects are vestiges of science, natural history and industry, which catalog man’s uses of the naturally occurring world.
The individual objects are displayed according to their chemical foundations. To illustrate this, I’ve organized each piece through its relationship to the Periodic Table of Elements. The table serves as a springboard to understanding our atomic makeup. Matter is not a solid mass but invisible atoms spinning themselves into form. This knowledge has shaped my philosophy and perceptions of the material world.
This installation is heavily based on my scientific inquiry, but as you will see, the strangeness of man’s uses of the natural world is laden with obscurity, wonder, and destruction.