Invention has a deeper reach, a deeper stratum of truth, quite often, than we like to admit. And that’s the beauty about the museum here.
—Werner Herzog on the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Los Angeles, California
Edwin Hubble’s keen, if fortuitous, 1933 observation that the more distant the star the redder the coloration of its characteristic spectra, was the first step in what was to become a cascade of deductive reasoning which culminated in two of the most significant understandings in the history of Western cosmological thought - namely that the universe is thousands or millions of times larger than was commonly supposed and secondly, the universe is not only much larger than had been assumed but it is dramatically increasing in size with each passing moment.
There is an important corollary to Hubble’s second realization that all of existence is expanding: if the amount of matter in the universe is more or less fixed but the size of the universe is constantly expanding, then the space between the objects in the universe is that which is increasing. The amount of matter in creation is not expanding; the distance between the bits of matter is getting greater. In other words the stuff of existence is thinning out, getting colder, running down. Or in the words of W.B. Yeats “the center does not hold; things fall apart.”
Ants Viires, the noted Estonian historian, responding in 1975 to Hubble’s view of an ever expanding cosmos, wrote in his Puud ja inimesed: puude osast Eesti rehvakulturis “…time ravages everything, our person, our experience, our material world. In the end everything will be lost. In the end there is only the darkness. …and despite the apparent fullness and richness of our lives there is, deposited at the core of each of us, a seed of this total loss of this inevitable and ultimate darkness.”
Against this flood of darkness, against this inevitable annihilation, certain individuals are called upon to preserve what they can. And those of us who hear and heed this call to hold back for a time some small part of existence from the inevitability of entropic disintegration have come to be known as collectors.
Steven Jay Gould and Rosamond Wolff Purcell in their poetic essay on collecting, Finders, Keepers, note that collecting is an act of passion. Speaking of the 16th through 19th century collectors, represented in their unabashedly beautiful book, Gould and Purcell note:
They all believed passionately in the value of their work; they were driven, sometimes at the cost of life or sanity, by this conviction, this urge to collect, to bring part of a limitless diversity into an orbit of personal or public appreciation. In an age of passivity, where Walkman and television bring so much to us and demand so little in return, we must grasp the engaging passion of these collectors, And we must also remember that passion, for all it public and private joys, literally means suffering.
If viewed from the perspective of self-preservation, this activity of gathering together, compiling and tending to often useless objects might appear illogical. In attempt to make sense of this seeming senseless and curiously compulsive activity, commentary on themes of collecting often focus on issues of scarcity and value, on the of amassment of objects as a vehicle for the accumulation of wealth and/or power. But it is all too easy to ascribe motives of self interest to this passion to gather - to view collecting as an act of hoarding, of taking for one’s self when, in fact, to assume the mantle of gathering for aftertime can just as easily be viewed as a self-less if not sacrificial act.
The house trailer is, of course, but a sub-set of the larger age-old category of mobile dwelling. From the Basque sheepherder tent/coat and Bedouin woven goat hair “blacktent” to Mongolian yurts, human ingenuity has created an astonishing array of portable dwellings.
—Erna Aljasmets, Eesti NSV udhariduskoolide opilaste toid
The history of the house trailer really begins with the covered carts and wagons used by prehistoric nomads who wandered the steppes of Asia. Four thousand year old models of these ox drawn vehicles have been unearthed in Syria, and Assyria, some of them looking surprisingly like 19th century Conestogas.
—David A. Thornburg
The verb to dwell has a distinct meaning. At one time it meant to hesitate, to linger to delay, as when we say, “He is dwelling too long on this insignificant matter.” To dwell, like the verb to abide (from which we derive abode) simply means to pause, to stay put for a length of time; it implies that we will eventually move on.
—J.B. Jackson, The Movable Dwelling and How it Came to America
In the eye on the needle stretches the artist’s black hair, on which stands the autosculpture of his own head.
Almond stone(?); the front is carved with a Flemish landscape in which is seated a bearded man wearing a biretta, a long tunic of classical character, and thick-soled shoes; he is seated with a viol held between his knees while he tunes one of the strings. In the distance are representations of animals, including a lion, a bear, an elephant ridden by a monkey, a boat, a dog, a donkey, a stag, a camel, a horse, a bull, a bird, a goat, a lynx, and a group of rabbits, the latter under a branch on which sit an owl, another bird, and a squirrel.
On the back is shown an unusually grim crucifixion, with a soldier on horseback, Longinus piercing Christ’s site with a lance; the cross is surmounted by a titulus inscribed INRI. Imbricated ground.
—The Museum of Jurassic Technology