Monday, February 20, 2017

Story Stage with Taxidermy.

Back in December I went to the 'Tea and Scones' diorama tour at the Bell Museum. It was wonderful with guides offering perspectives from biology, art history, museum history, climate change and more.
One might think that with the availability of ever-modernizing, flashier ways to recreate the outdoors (IMAX, virtual reality, even nature docs on a large screen TV) that a static, constructed diorama of a nature scene would fall short in comparison. But I find the Bell dioramas captivating. Knowing that they are important historically is only one aspect of their charm. There's the room-size scale that puts the viewer in intimate relationship with moose, elk, wolf, and geese. The Frances Lee Jaques painted backdrops are gorgeous. And the taxidermied animals - authentic artifacts of former life - hold me in a middle state of Real/Not Real.    Meanwhile, the depictions of historical landscapes in solid form contrast poignantly with the rapidly shifting nature of place that climate change brings forth: Still/Not Still.

I wrote this impression about one of the video recordings I made, below:

Jaques' birds in flight 
reflected in pools of chrome-plated copper 
while time-frozen relatives stand by, 
and I, stepping to the side, 
try to reanimate 
a moment that has passed.


Try it with mute on, too.

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