The other day, on a whim, we went to a thrift shop and something happened that you fantasize about but never expect. We found a masterpiece. The painting was sitting in a corner behind a lot of faded prints from the 1980s, with “$12.99”. scrawled on the back. We thought it was probably a clever … More The Painting
The other day, while looking for something to watch on YouTube, I was offered up in the side-bar a series of videos of a chicken playing the piano. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and was treated to two minutes and one second of a chicken at an electric piano playing “O mio babbino caro” … More The Chicken that Plays Puccini: A Question of Animal Awareness
I’ve always loved this painting. Vertumnus looks serenely at the viewer, a slight smile making you think he knows something you’d like to. It’s a clever work of Mannerism, seamlessly weaving a complex array of perfectly rendered fruits and other plants into the portrait of a human face full of character. The portrait is of … More Art, Science and the Intersection of Knowledge
A friend of mine just received an email from Amazon recommending that, based on her recent activity, she might like to purchase The Future of Natural History Museums. She was so impressed, she mailed it to me. I’m so impressed that I’m including it for you. So, the book. It was a collaboration between the … More The Future of Natural History Museums
The rapid decline of the global environment is an inescapable fact. The Earth’s major oxygen sources, coral reefs and rain forests, are disappearing along with the species that live in them. Atmospheric carbon is rising precipitously and one in a hundred year storms are becoming the norm. As the planet warms and forests are removed … More In an age of humans, can the arts save the planet?
I’m just about to give a public lecture. It will be at Whanganui Regional Museum in a couple of days’ time. The talk is, with some modification, one that I delivered in Japan last month, as a guest of the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tsukuba. The topic of the gathering was the … More Make Way for the Anthropocene
I recently gave a talk to students graduating in Computer Graphic Design at the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) in Whanganui. Here’s the talk I gave. Tēnā koutou katoa. Ka nui te mihi atu. Mayor Annette Main, Deputy Mayor Hamish McDouall, Councillors, Trevor Goodwin, distinguished guests and especially graduands, I’m very pleased to be asked … More Speech to Graduands at UCOL
Having just posted a book announcement on Art and Ethics on the website of ICOM NATHIST Ethics Working Group (click here for that) has given me pause to think about how the ethics of art touches on natural history. There are many facets to this. For instance, wildlife photography. When we sit down to our television … More Art and the Ethics of Natural History
One of the things I’ve long found interesting is the importance of context in determining our perceptions of what we see. In the context of heritage, the difference between science, art, music and even rubbish, can be determined by the value conferred on it by its context. Last night I had the pleasure of attending the … More Contextualising objects
For some reason, known only to my former website hosts, my blog has met an untimely demise. Frustrating, as it was the product of a lot of work and years of Saturday mornings’ writing. Gone are the posts about Paul the Octopus, ant mercenaries, the Fountain of Youth, carnivorous plants and vampire moths. Gone are the links to my … More Why am I here? Making do with what you’ve got.