Since each of us was several, there was quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as fartherest away. (Deleuze & Guattari, in the introduction to A Thousand Plateaus, 3)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


After working on the previous Post, Wunderkammer/Lost birds, I suddenly thought of a blog which could function in a similar way--the Pages and hyper-links opening up (as a drawer of a cabinet might) to reveal an object, image or text of wonder and curiosity. It was soon after that I recalled a work by Anna Munster, artist and writer, Wnndernet--a set of  four  ' virtual'  and interactive Cabinets of Curiosities or Wunderkammers. 
Uploaded onto the Internet in 2000,  Wnndernet invites the participant to explore of series of links initially classified into four main categories (which I have called 'cabinets' as clicking on the link brings one first to such an image) of exotica, historica, machina, and transgenica. From there one is drawn through a series of  hyper-links to image, sound,  text and site, 'within' and 'out with' Wundernet itself. Even the visuals are combinations of the visceral (flesh and bones), the valuable (collectible objects) and the virtual (mathematical symbols). The fragments of text lead one on to the the complete (and downloadable) original text. Melding art and science, fact and fantasy, and philosophical theory, the ideas from the (potentially)  finite content are open to (possibly) infinite variation and rearrangement.  However tempting it is to view one as the digital version of the physical object 'other', both which make connection-in-difference (and therein are of such interest to this project and its exploration of the notion of 'smooth' space), there are differences between the physical Wnderkammer and the virtual Wundernet, as Marsha Meskimmon points out:
Based on the Wunderkammer, its visual tropes, structural logic and reliance upon collection and display as navigational propositions, are from the first  a knowing projection of the past into the present. However, the connections between the digital Wundernet and the Wunderkammer are meant to produce a gap, an interval, through which their constitutive difference enables us to make experimental, conceptual leaps in thinking. (p122)  
And what I am calling 'smooth space'...

Marsha Meskimmon, Women Making Art (2003)

Reconfiguring the Wall  (2006) detail
Emma Riwden
The research material Emma gathered could have been pieced/re-pieced in any number of ways and the connections made lead to a  number of  conclusions...


  1. Firstly my apologies, Sarah, as it has been my intention to try to respond more, and I have not done so… I have endless difficulties with the internet (like no access at all for the past week), plus all the other usual distractions. I have taken to copying & pasting your new entries into Word doc’s, so that I can read them off-line at my leisure, which is a wonderful experience and makes me really appreciate what you’re trying to do, developing such a complex blog with all its various avenues.

    I’m curious about your interest in the Wunderkammer, but when you describe the internet version by Anna Munster, it makes sense. The parallels with what you are doing with your blog are clear. I wonder, in fact, if that is not the more relevant similarity, rather than Pam’s Lost Birds series. I wish you would describe what fascinates you about the wunderkammer. Is it the Newcastle Chest, or Macquarie’s Chest, the idea of the wunderkammer, or is it perhaps Lueckenhausen’s text? I really want to know what specifically interests you… I find it hard to think of Pam’s work in relation to the Wunderkammer, as her work is interpretive, and the wunderkammer (as far as I understand) were collections of actual objects. Perhaps we could say that the viewer interprets the collection contained within the Wunderkammer, but that process is doubled with Pam’s work as she, the artist, firstly interprets, then we the viewers interpret from her interpretation. This seems to me quite a different thing...

    However, if I re-read your quote from Lueckenhausen: The Wunderkammer systematised its contents by the very fact of its existence. No matter how diverse or seemingly unrelated the parts, the physical fact of their being brought together turned the furniture [ie the cabinet] into a rationalising and probably even unifying structure this seems to me quite parallel with what you are doing: bringing together the ‘diverse and seemingly unrelated’ works by 3 different artists, plus Deleuze & Guattari’s concept of smooth & striated space, with the blog as the unifying structure or system, through which you are ‘rationalising’ or thinking through the connections.

    And finally, you mentioned in your Logbook (August 19) that the guidelines for the conference paper/presentation arrived and have provided you with a structure through the title of the session ~ but you didn’t tell us what that was! Perhaps through our various silences it is possible that you don’t realise how much we are interested in this project, and that is certainly our fault as you have invited us repeatedly to respond, but I for one would love to know what the title and your corresponding structure is...

  2. Thank you Ruth! I have attempted to respond to your comments in my blogbook and today's new post.