Folks, please find a few minutes before Saturday morning to complete this exercise in preparation for Leslie’s workshop:
CABINET OF DANGERS
This exercise takes its inspiration from the tradition of the wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities—also known as cabinets of wonder, or wonder-rooms. These were collections of wondrous objects—some crafted by hand, others taken from the natural world: polished stones, stuffed crocodiles, bits of coral, bits of human tooth, wooly ferns, tusks of narwhals. Cabinets of curiosity often held items that remained somewhat mysterious, whose categories hadn’t yet been determined. Renaissance scholar Francesca Fiorani described the wunderkammer as “a theater of the world, or a memory theater.”
For this exercise, I’d like you to explore the idea of a “memory theater” full of objects from your own past. You can draw these objects or list them. But the idea is that you remember objects that feel charged with some kind of emotional electricity—ideally objects whose significance you haven’t yet figured out, objects whose categories haven’t yet been determined. In particular, I’d like you to focus on objects that feel dangerous—that hold some kind of pain or some explosive charge, that feel as if they might erupt at any moment.
List five of these objects (or more) and jot down a few sentences about the memories and emotional charge that attach to each one.