May 13, 2009 by: Dom
Niagara Science Museum open its first season with: Wonder Rooms: a science/art exhibition by Gary Nickard and Reinhard Reitzenstein, opening reception Thursday, May 14, 11am-5pm.
Wunderkammer or Wonder rooms were distant pre-cursers to the modern day museum. Wonder rooms, or cabinets of curiosity, were intended to display a new vision of the world in miniature through all of its strange and wonderful objects.
Wonder rooms were originally collections of items of interest amassed with no particular logic or structure other than what looked interesting and allowed the viewer or collector to examine and marvel at the assembled objects.
There is a very subjective poetic to such arrangements predicated on what caught ones’ interest or what might have represented a particular journey, experience or fascination with no over-riding taxonomy or system attached but the free flight of the imagination and awe.
Such were the humble beginnings of what we have come to know as the museum, with its experts and curators, committees and boards of governors etc.
The Niagara Science Museum is in many ways a kind of wunderkammer. The owner Nick Dalacu has assembled a vast array of antique and now obsolete science objects, instruments and paraphernalia.
This gathering of objects reflects one person’s preoccupation and fascination with the stuff of science and his attendant desire to preserve these items for us to marvel at.
Gary Nickard and Reinhard Reitzenstein have been invited to interact with the collection and reconfigure their choices as wonder rooms.
Nickard and Reitzenstein are both visual artists who also share a fascination with the stuff of science and they are particularly interested in re-instating a sense of wonder and the marvelous as guiding principles in both contemporary art and science.
The opportunity to engage the collection of the Niagara Science Museum is a rare and wonderful adventure. The results feature rare natural objects, corals, minerals, skulls, obsolete analogue cameras, fossils and a wide range of scientific curiosities… hopefully to take viewers to the edge of their imaginations questioning their own assumptions and certainties of how and why things work and perhaps to provide insights into unforeseen possibilities.