A Cabinets of Curiosities at Tasma Terrace @ Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cabinets of curiosities (also known Wunderkammer) were encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked)...

Wunderkammer looks like a strange word to me, and an exhibition with that name, well I have no idea what that's about. As it's close to the English word 'wonder' it looks German. In which 'wunderkammer' literally means German ‘wonder chamber’.

Me: Did you know there's a word for dead stuffed animals?
Le Beau: There's a word for everything, and in this case that word is taxidermy.

A couple Fridays ago we went to an exhibition of dead stuffed animals aka on taxidermy. The installations are meant to be thought-provoking and unnatural to encourage discussion on a broad range of issues including climate change, pollution, stewardship, hunting and animal-human relations.

These are some of the things on show, just a preview. There was hoodies or at least the hat part made of bunnies, so I found the event just a bit traumatic. They were little fluffy white bunnies, both with upright and floppy ears... Wore by dolls holding the pacemaker (fake heart) that used to be inside dead people (who weren't dead when they used them) who were cremated (because they died). How did he get them?

Birds & A Dino? I'm told it's a rat.

Here we have penguins fishing right at the top.

The inspiration for these installations is amazing, children's toys and random bits and pieces glued together and spray painted black (as in the pictures above) or white to create a backdrop.

I think this is an eel. It would be a challenge to work with bones so fragile.

Antelopes, with their heads taken by humans/hunters as trophies.

A more common trophy.

Baby polar bear? I have never seen one before, I thought it would be bigger?

There's a rumour that the tower is haunted...

For the past five years Rod has been exploring sculpture and art installation concentrating on conservation and human-animal themes. The Wunderkammer exhibition takes this further by drawing on his interest in taxidermy to create installations which challenge human perceptions of the natural world. 

All of the animals are ethically sourced and range from a polar bear to a zebra and from insects to penguins. Meaning they weren't killed just because they looked pretty, and were selected for the project.

Do you have dead stuffed animals at home? Perhaps a deer head grandpa hunted on a trip? I don't think people collect these things anymore, it was more of an old world thing, unless you're in a hunting area mid-west. Le beau believes that his grandpa who was Swiss-German would have had some.

A bit morbid but got me thinking, what do you want to do with your body when you're dead? Le beau recommends cremation instead of rotting in the ground. And just wait till  they start burying people upright, that's scary! Being a huge history buff, and a fan of Ancient Egypt, I considered mummification, but is that a bit creepy? I mean they take your brains out your nose. But then again you're preserved forever!    

Artist Rod McRae brings his Wunderkammer exhibition to the 
Victorian Tasma Terrace from 5 February to 30 April. 
Tickets are $10. For more info click here.

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