Much is being said within the museum industry about the definition of museums. ICOM is considering the current definition and whether it needs to be rethought. I think a review is worthwhile, regardless of whether changes are ultimately made. Robust thinking about museums (or any field, in fact), whether related to practice or theory, should … More Natural History and a Unified Museum Definition
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
Last September, there was a brief flurry of activity over the idea of a program that can distinguish homosexual versus heterosexual faces, based on their online dating image (see this, for instance, from the BBC). It started shortly before a scientific article was published by Stanford’s Yilun Wang Michal Kosinski in the online journal Open … More What’s wrong with a gay facial recognition program
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
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
In my last post, I wrote about immortality. It occurs to me, however, that I left out one of the most important aspects of this phenomenon occuring in popular culture – vampires. The most recent Twilight series (which I haven’t seen, I have to admit) is only the latest point in a long history that … More A Clutch of Vampires