Cabinet of Curiosities Discussion Notes

Because a few of the members of our group did not receive the Cabinet of Curiosities project brief until the end of last Tuesday’s seminar, we decided to collaborate online.

We got over some of the obstacles of not being able to meet as a group by including lots of commentary and explanation next to our works. We have sent each other the links to our personal blogs as the cabinet projects have been coming along.

There is a surprising amount of variation in the material we have all chosen to include, and the way we approached the task. However, some similarities did occur also. Harriet, Joe and Amy all had physical versions of their Cabinets that they had to photograph and supplement online. Sofina and Roxi’s material was put together online to start with.

Harriet and Sofina focused mainly on news based media without diverging onto anything else. Roxi also used a documentary style piece for her first topic about the way animal welfare is forgotten behind fast food branding. Harriet also focused on animal welfare, but in the context of dog ownership in the UK.

Amy, Joe and Roxi collected some more personal artefacts that relates directly to them and has influenced their lives. Amy and Joe’s cabinets are particularly similar in the range of items they included. It can be said that the items as a whole represent their outlooks on life. This  enabled them to cover all different types of media from TV, clothing brands, music, etc. On Joe’s blog, he has used hairspray as one of his items. This is clearly to do with image, which relates to Amy’s use of designer labels and Roxi’s jewellry piece.

Harriet’s approach was more a critical look at the way media is received, and also what it accomplishes in covering social and cultural news material. Her idea was to present several outlooks on similar issues to see what effect it had. She focused heavily on the coverage of dog ownership in the UK, including articles and images from newspapers.  One article in particular was interesting as it gave an outline on what the Dublin city council. She has also included YouTube videos to back up her topic in her cabinet. This is extremely effective and it emphasizes and reinforces her theory on the topic.

Nigel’s cabinet came across in a similar way to Harriet’s and Sofina’s because of his approach. He focused on the world legality issues of cannabis and featured ideas from all different sources. His use of rhetorical questions is very provocative- “Why is cannabis illegal?”. He invites the viewer to think for themselves about their perspectives on the issue, much like Harriet and Sofina did.

Sofina and Harriet actually shared a topic in common which was the news coverage of the French Burqa ban and the different ways it was received. This is interesting as we can tell that it clearly interests them both, possibly because their lives have been affected by the ban and or people around them. It could just mean that this topic is found interesting by them both, which then creates awareness for others in our group as two people in our group have used the same news story.

Roxi covered a health phenomenon called “Pressopuncture”, which is the act of self healing through the consideration of pressure points. None of the rest of the group had heard of this particular alternative health practice before so it made an impact on all of us. With health issues, people are always willing to try new things to see if they work. We were all interested because of the idea that Roxi’s mum’s chronic back problems were healed immediately through the practice.

We have all learned a lot about each other from viewing our work. It has been interesting to meet the group first before looking at each others’ work, to see if any of our first impressions held true to the work we all provided.  The cabinet of curiosities provides a peek into other people’s lives, outlooks and what they hold close.


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