Museum of Jurassic Technology

Dec. 3

I’ve always wanted to go here and it was great to finally have an excuse to just do it. The museum is amazing in just how intricately conceived and constructed it is. Some of the peculiar objects and the holographic glass plates were really beautiful.

But probably the most elaborate spectacle were the histories themselves. Mixing fact and fiction, the museum kept making you question what was real and how could we believe it. In a way it’s a counter museum that just constantly forces us to question how history is written and what sort of tropes, display techniques, language, and methodologies are used to convince us about reality. The museum helps to break the aura of scientific knowledge and objectivist reality.

We have to realize the role of the subjective observer, researcher, institutional directors, and private collectors that all define this process. We have to always remain skeptical about truth claims even though rigorously constructed, especially if we stop to think about the insane scientific hypotheses of the late turn of the 20th century.

Some of the ideas proposed in the museum themselves were poetic and provocative, such as the “Theory of Forgetting and the Problem of Memory”, but they were all part of the larger playful game that museum was proposing. The playful prompt of the museum was so effective that I often found myself overly analyzing what was purposeful and what was coincidental. For example, at one station the audio phones weren’t working and I thought, hmm…maybe this is a statement on the inability of knowing history or it’s emphasizing the “lack” that’s inherently built into the archive. Though it was probably just a technical mistake, the museum seemed open to such pranks and ruses in their speculative and comical history of western science.