Still Ready (detail), typewriter box, 2020

“Doctor Kali Gehry’s Cabinet of (in)Curiosities & Ecstatic Nonsense”, interactive installation, 2020

In my view, what is truly radical today is to intentionally stop, refuse, resist, do nothing save remain in the moment. To be. To be present. Which means be present amongst the evidential detritus of our merely human condition. It is in this radical spirit of doing nothing save be present that this project was conceived.

As developed during their Rennaissence to Victorian heyday legacy, “Cabinets of Curiosities” or “poetic theatres” or “memory chambers” were the private amusements of eccentric aristocrats and the materially focussed nouveau riche. They were proto art galleries, proto natural history museums, and random memorabilia collections of questionable provenance. I have also come to view such private museums as proto visual encyclopaedias, open ended “interactive” puzzle games, and devices for seeing.

Like Cabinet’s of old, this Cabinet is an instrument of perception, an optical and philosophical device for framing a world view. Perhaps also like Cabinet’s of old, this instrument, this propaganda device, is intended to be both calibrated and played, without beginning or end. Unlike Cabinet’s of old, this instrument’s world view is actually a local view, and intended to be interruptive, discursive, elegiac, incongruous, irreverent and mischievous.

This travelling and evolving work is a bespoke, pop up shop that re-presents fragmentary refuse and scrounged artifacts, evidence of our contemporary lifestyle. These “memento mori” discards are elevated up onto a commercial pedestal, though nothing is for sale. The project’s architecture and its contents are changeable, improvised, its footprint scaled up and down depending on space and material availability. The project will travel with a number of individual exhibitions, including the interactive sound, digital video, projections, and AR components and their supporting technology.

Much like in film, in presenting these largely unrelated series of mise-en-scènes, I am shaping a sequence. Cumulatively this montage logic creates a narrative. At varying moments, this story is supported or contradicted within the frame or larger Cabinet.

I am prescribing the point of view, determining these Alberti-an windows-on-the world, choreographing the revelation of the always partial stage. I am the director of this bonkers theatre of the absurd, the sh(ad)owman, the Carny tempting you.

And by entering, dear viewer, you become a player, complicit in my absurdist intentions.