Living by the seaside I have become very impressed with seagulls. They were on my mind for the Bird Automata Test Track work, partly because Marey studied gulls. They fly (mostly glide) very elegantly. My Herring Gull skeleton is also very beautiful but has been mounted with it legs in a strange position – maybe as if to take off – while the gulls around here all have their legs perpendicular to their torso (so the legs would drop straight down from the knee joint behind the wing. The skeleton is to provide dimensional information in case I get round to making a full sized bird automaton.
In terms of structuring ideas the optical bench lies between the ubiquity of scaffolding and the specificity of the armatures that hold dinosaur skeletons or the dynamic frames of planetary models (for example). They are content specific but allow that content to be played with.
The active pieces in the lower image are mute without the bench, which brings them into a negotiable relationship.
A plaster stair model from the museum La Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris.
I noticed that over the past year people from one hundred countries have visited this blog – thank you for taking an interest!
Some of the wonderful didactic models in the science museum in Oxford. The Orrery is very similar to one that used to be in the Science Museum in London and was displaced by an exhibit called something like the Sainsbury’s Food Experience that exhibited a 1980’s domestic kitchen and worse. One of my interests in didactic instruments is that the care in their construction seduces one to believe them. Despite their intention to explain they are often just slightly too complicated to immediately understand but it is clear there is something there to understand, and so we imagine into them, often into worlds independent of the intended content. The dioramas have a similar possibility.
Among the more earnest exhibits at the Booth museum there are also some curiosities such as this Merman. The label explains that it was from South East Asia and made from the body and teeth of a fish and the head of a monkey and collected around 1890. Apparently you can tell the gender by the number of nipples – Mermaids have more than two. As with spirit photography, I enjoy the use of the mechanisms used in scientific research and the museum to make ideas appear true.
Especially for Phoebe, scholar of mermaid and merman exhibits world wide.
A few more mathematical models from the Science Museum in London.
I have posted a few dinosaur armatures on this blog. I enjoy the precision of the support, not only for the bones and their relation to each other but also the character of the animal that is given by the pose that the bones are set in. It is a more intimate precision than that found in the arms of planetary models, for example, which are far more abstract.
This mount is from the Museum of Comparative Anatomy in Paris (I have posted some pictures of the mammal and dinosaur skeletons from the same museum previously). It holds a skull fragment that is clearly not the item that it was originally made for (it appears to be for a skull with a lower support for the jaw). The precision of the mount to fit the original bones comes not only through the geometry but also the delicacy of its structure. It also implies a strange hybrid of the original skull with the imposter fragment.
View previous posts for suggestions on how to resolve the stereo image.