Curious Cocoon











Once I used to go to cathedrals or art museums to get a sense of awe and wonder. Now I go to natural history museums (... or occasionally I go to the source itself: nature).

However, after having read Stuffed Animals & Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums I cannot enter a natural history museum without being very much aware of the overall focus and ideology behind that particular museum's display.

I have just returned from visiting the newly opened Darwin Centre at Natural History Museum, London - and here there is no doubt: the underlying paradigme is evolution and the focus is on evolution and on education about science and scientist's work.

The means are new interactive media and an architecture - the Cocoon - that attemps to turn the museum inside out and reveal what's going on backstage.

Scientists are displayed "live" and their personal (natural) (hi)stories are told - stories about curiosity and about excitement of exploring. And important stories about how their research play a significant role in wider society.
The viewer also get glimpses of the enormous collection of plants, animals, minerals and fossil specimens stored in the cocoon.

Overall - I can highly recommend visiting the place if you would like to know more about (y)OUR (natural hi)story.

Yes, Darwin is everywhere (we are in London, not in Paris :-)). His theory is - a theory - but indeed the best one we have had to date to explain the process how it all came about - but as I have written previously, I still cannot see why we can't all party together. Let the Carnival of Evolution join the creationists, the ID'ers and the indifferent in a topsyturvy polyphonic Bakhtinian carnival.
For Bakhtin, truth is not a statement, a sentence or a phrase. Instead, truth is a number of mutually addressed, albeit contradictory and logically inconsistent, statements. Truth needs a multitude of carrying voices. It cannot be held within a single mind, it also cannot be expressed by “a single mouth.” The polyphonic truth requires many simultaneous voices.
So let's meet in awe and wonder and celebrate the beauty and complexity of life on Earth! Because at the end of the day - what DO we know?