Cabinet of Curiosities
The origin of cabinets of curiosities can date back many of hundreds of years to when Europeans started travelling and exploring the unknown world. Ancient Egyptian artifacts, fascinating art and stuffed mammals filled these cabinets (or rooms) amongst many other items. Anything you wanted could be added to the cabinet, and was filled with anything that stimulated the mind, items you could either see, touch or smell or even a combination of all three. Items were added that you found to your likes or dislikes, and even things you had little or no understanding of, all where there to broaden your horizons and possibly give a better understanding of the world in which we live in.
The basis of the cabinet of curiosities was not only there to help you in your desire to understand the world, but were also there to show other people what influences you and what you have chosen. They showed your peers about your life and were also there to impress and be the envy of everyone around you. Each Item told a story and was a huge talking point and you appear more interesting and also helped emphasize your wealth.
Today in a highly media orientated world as well as a hugely global economy peoples cabinets of curiosities have somewhat narrowed in time. In the past the majority of the demographic was determined by class and gender, as only wealthy men had the ideologies to produce a huge array of items and was very different from cabinet to cabinet due to less globalization and a huge lack of media influences. Whereas today, class, gender, age, sexual orientation, language, race and religion seem to have little impact in the way of today’s society. Age seems to be the biggest diversity in people’s cabinets today. The 16-25 age group tends to have surprisingly similar cabinets, i.e. Hollywood movies and the music (current, top 40) which help influence our lives. The only surprising thing that i found out about many other peoples cabinets was that they were all so very similar. And is the media orientated world the primary reason for all this?
My own Cabinet of curiosities consist of the universe and the science around it. The Universe has such big meaning, from the creation of time to the evolution of life on this planet and maybe others. Scientists have been plagued for centuries in how the universe works and it intrigues me that we know so little about our role within it. Stephen Hawkins wanted to prove the theory of everything within his life time and feels he will fail if he does not achieve this life long ambition. I am amazed by using simple formulae you can find out how many extra solar planets there are around a certain star and how we know so much about the creation and destruction of stars. What gets to me is after knowing all this we are not even scratching the surface of what science and physics within the universe can possibly be. What I love about the universe is that if it is infact infinite then within all possibility an infinate amount of other universes may exist or that another me is writing these very same words aeons away.
Music has come to dominate so many peoples lives over the years due to advances in technology and the media. My outlook on music is generally if its on the radio or on it a night club I will listen to it. So the music I listen to is highly orientated by the media of today. I have perhaps only a dozen CDs stretching maybe 8 bands/artists. The Killers, The Who, Elton John and R.E.M. are perhaps the band I listen to the most and are ones that I could quite happily at this moment listen to for the rest of my life. There is little sentiment in why I listen to them other than the music that hits my ears. I have little collaboration with these bands, I don’t know all the members of every band and couldn’t really tell you much about them other than I like listening to them. It is more dominant in the majority of my age group, but I don’t listen to it all that much but what I do listen to has an influence in my life and the curiosity is more to the reason of why I am not in the majority
History has always fascinated me from the rise of the Third Reich to the demise of the Inca from Machu Picchu. I’ve always wanted to know more about the past than I do of today and could easily spend hours trying to learn more about everything. I enjoy watching war time movies and getting there aspect on things. There is a difference in documentaries and films but I like to get the analytical point on things, for instance the battle of Stirling was fought on a bridge whereas in Braveheart (1995) the battle was fought within a big field. Easier to direct and appear more entertaining or just ignorance on the production team? Photojournalism and its rise from the 19th century through to today has also been one to catch my eye, Robert Capa on the beaches of Normandy was one that inspired me most amongst many others. Again photojournalism isn’t one that features highly amongst my age group but I feel that it inspires and teaches you more about the world that we once lived in.
Movies, television, internet, the global media. These are what affects the majority of us (including myself) and how we live our lives. My life is plagued by sitting in front of the television and watching endless hours of junk but also junk that influences my daily life. Adverts and lifestyle shown on the tele and the internet have shown me how to dress and what is morally right and wrong more so than my parents. Peer pressure has come from the rise in the media and what people are shown. would I be wearing what I am now or talking how I talk if it wasn’t for the globalisation of the media world? Perhaps media has ruined my life but I enjoy it all the same and I’m sure so does almost everybody else. Out of the stacks of DVDs that I own I doubt that many people would fail not to have any notion of any of them and my playstation and the games that I play are influenced by everything around me. The promotion that many of the items that they get is probably more money than I’ll ever spend in my life and yet that doesn’t matter when I walk into a shop and buy a DVD or when I sit on my laptop or in front of the tele. I like to be entertained and I love that the media world has shown me these things. Would I perhaps have a more diverse understanding of film and tv if I had no clue in what i was watching? The answer is almost a certain yes. They’ve influenced my life and giving me sporting heros and made me laugh and keep me entertained. My love for football may not have flourished if it wasn’t for football being ‘everywhere’ and how much I watch Friends is also influenced by how much it is shown on the tele. These things have influenced my life and made me more curious than ever to help me open my mind due to how narrow I am because of the media.
These are just a selection of my cabinet of curiosities and I hope to add to my cabinet and stretch my mind over the years to come.