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A nondescript storefront operation in Los Angeles, California, the Museum of Jurassic Technology actually exists—that may be the only thing about it that is for certain. The creation of David Wilson, a man of prodigiously unusual imagination, the museum is crammed full of some of the most astonishingly unbelievable marvels known to man. Visitors to the museum continually find themselves caught between wondering at the marvels of craft and nature that are on display and wondering whether any of this could possibly be true. Indeed, Wilson’s true subject seems to be wonder itself, the delicious human capacity for astonishment and absorption out of which all true creativity arises.
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder begins as a simple investigation of the tiny storefront in southern California and spirals out into a consideration of the origins of all modern museums in the wonder-cabinets of the sixteenth century, the generative role of pure imagination in both art and science, the mystifying bases of the authoritative in every field, and, not least, the actual existence and profound significance of human horns.
From a cuneiform tablet to a Chicago prison, from the depths of the cosmos to the text on our T-shirts, Lawrence Weschler finds strange connections wherever he looks. The farther one travels (through geography, through art, through science, through time), the more everything seems to converge — at least, it does through Weschler’s giddy, brilliant eyes. Weschler combines his keen insights into art (both contemporary and Renaissance), his years of experience as a chronicler of the fall of Communism, and his triumphs and failures as the father of a teenage girl into a series of articles that are sure to illuminuate, educate, and astound.