These ten objects, on loan from the Powerhouse Museum, are ‘devices of wonder’. Some mapped our place in the universe, some measured the space and time that we inhabit, some used technology to entertain, whilst others used science to deceive; but they are all beautifully designed and crafted objects that speak of the enchantment objects can still hold in the world in which we live.
When confronted with these, now obsolete things, our curiosity is aroused by the sense of mystery that enshrouds them. They appear mysterious because we have lost the context within which they once existed. To us they are like objects from elsewhere, perhaps from the past, but also from some possible future. In attempting to fathom their possible meaning, we are compelled to experience these devices directly; we study their physicality: size, weight, appearance, and features. In doing so, our minds are filled with possibilities, we imagine the place they once held in the world, or perhaps we may even imagine a place for them in our world or in some future world.
The disjuncture between the artworks and the objects leaves a gap for the visitors to project their own ideas, perhaps to ponder the connections between them, perhaps to wonder about different possibilities. By providing an annotated map, the visitors are invited play an active role in making their own discoveries.
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