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An Orcadian Cabinet of Curiosities

Part 2 Project 2019
Chester Kendell
Robert Gordon University | UK
The line between collector and hoarder is a thick one; whilst neither denotes creativity, there is a shared desire to be surrounded by things, with the objects people cherish telling stories about who they are. This is true of a small-town museum as well as people. This project explores creating a new home for an existing collection belonging to the harbour town of Stromness, Orkney. Reimagining an existing museum which had a density of artefact and breadth of storytelling that is hugely intriguing and interesting.

Throughout the project I became fascinated in the act of collecting, and the power of an idiosyncratic and magical collection like the one belonging to the Stromness museum. This led to me to the phenomenon of Cabinets of Curiosities, the forerunner to contemporary museums. The creation of my own Cabinet allowed for a vessel of discovery and development; exploring aspects of my own project, responses to an Orcadian culture and other narratives, real or fabricated. The cabinet revels in the presence of things when they have a latent power, meaning or spirit. The objects within the cabinet were made or found, chosen by intuition and ordered in a way that responds to a personal logic.

Chester Kendell

Professor Neil Gillespie

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