Thursday, September 14, 2006

preservation


When you think of museums the word preservation comes to mind. Especially when you think of science
related museums because these museums tend to have biological objects on display that have been bottled up, pickled and encased behind permanent glass walls. These objects are being preserved by the very definition of the word. But preservation also means to 'protect, keep alive, make lasting.' The kind of preservation seen in museums, in a way, goes against these latter definitions. Museums don't actually keep the objects, the animals, or the history alive, they just preserve the idea of these things; the image, the shell, the bones, the texture, the theories, the notebooks.
But the look in the eye, the typical sorrows, the glint of the tooth, the hunger, the blood in the veins, the smell of the flower, the feel of snow underfoot, the numb apprehension of a ship hitting land, or hitting an iceberg, or in fact, all normal spectrums of feeling and being; none of these things can be preserved.


It will be interesting, you think, to see how humans deal with the increasing need to preserve things over the next few years. You envision the rushing about of scientists who are trying to get everything taxidermied and pickled before their specimens decompose. From the sad puffins off the coast of California to the polar bears and afformentioned white spruce trees of the arctic; museums are going to have to make more room. And its going to be interesting to see how these museums morph into parks-zoos where people will be able to enjoy the 'natural world' in a controlled environment, however false and lifeless that world actually is. You've alre
ady witnessed new urban trends towards manufactured naturalism, but so far they seem to be void of remorse or necessity. Currently these trends are more cheeky marketing gimmicks than any real human desire to preserve the idea of nature or to get back to the woods. You know that this indifference and playfullness won't last; people will be scrambling before the decade is through.

(Pickled squid with extinct cabbage garnish.)


(Who will preserve this species? Just kidding, you don't really care.)



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