Collected explores the idea of collecting throughout history and cultures. A school-based project were the only provision was editorial material in text form, which one was to layout and provide imagery for on our own.
Collected: a magazine as a collection
Having a collection of magazines is not new. Ever since the first magazine there has been a drive to keep your collection complete, from the numbering on the side to articles spread out over various publication, there is always an urge of having a complete collection.
With Collected I attempted to go a step beyond. From the collection of photographs that would differ each month around the cover, to the wrapper surrounding the magazine which refers to the notion of the additional worth of having your item in an original, unopened packaging. As such it turned the magazine from a ‘practical item’ into a ‘collector’s item’.
Fritz Kahn’s body machines
Fritz Kahn, a German Jewish physician from the first half of the 20th century, is more known for his science books and illustrations, which often included infographics, than his main occupation.
However, it could have been easily so that his works would have been lost to time. Despite his talents as a designer, he was forced to evade the Nazi opressors who had outlawed his books and forced him to flee his country. Recently however, interest in his works has risen again through various articles, books and even references in academic literature.
We’ve all seen them in biology class or even museums. Preserved specimens in jars and bottles, they are lurid yet intriguing to look at. But for Frederik Ruysch, it did not suffice.
Not satisfied with his collection that was worthy of a king, he would ‘beautify the scene’ with additional lustre and curious items. Combining groves of plants with skulls and stuffed animals, he created scenes that drew the admiration from generals, ambassadors and even royals.
Cabinet of curiosities
Cabinets are not just a place for your collection. They serve to draw attention, to admire, they can even be a place of learning through an educational set of items.
But having a cabinet of curiosities goes back much further than you would think. Art historians have traced the inception of cabinets as far as the 15th century, when Italian princes and courtiers started to design their own spaces for retirement and study. These were known as ‘Studiolo’s’ and often featured items of various kinds from far and wide.
Ruysh anatomical curiosities
Although Ruysch is mostly known for decorating his curiosities with various items and creating unnatural scenes, he also proved to be important in discovering different ways to preserve his items better through various substances and setups.
Included with these discoveries is a special colored substance that, when injected into organs, revealed the ‘journeys’ taken by the blood vessels through the lymphatic system. Although interesting and providing a wealth of information, he did not include these items in his public museum right away. Although highly educational, he felt that they would not stand out against other the items in his collection of curiosities.