Cheating Time - Bruno Munari the archeologist.
(Thanks to Tien of Modernchild for introducing Bruno’s books to me.)
I cannot stop thinking of an Imaginary Archaeology Museum.
In 1948-1950, Bruno and his son started a game - an intellectual adventure on using reconstruction and observation methods associated with archaeology to “act like an archaeologist”, producing “his” Fossils of 2000, illegible writings by unknown populations… They carried out the digs in Capo Milazzese on the island of Panarea, a prehistoric village of 3,500 years ago. They collected bits and pieces, trying to imagine the entire object and the ancient inhabitants.
When I was still in the design school, I always dreamt of having a summer job in an archaeological site.
There weren’t any chance. There are rarely remains in Hong Kong. I never tried to find out why I had such a thought. Now, I know. It’s because of booming of imagination behind traces, concealed clues behind fragments. I’m allured to the life of the past and the unclear. Sometimes, the images of dragging interior scenes under flickering candle lights were so vivid, and the scent of burning wood…
When I stood in the town center of Milan, I was embraced by buildings over 200 years. From the visual of rounded stones on the road, I could hear sound of horses tramping. In Hong Kong, on the same piece of land, buildings were knocked down and rebuilt for 3-4 times in 100 years. I only have slim imagination to the past. Ringing in my ears are the sounds of digging, drilling and those of heavy machines. Archaeology Museum can only exist in an imaginary form.
I wish I can pick up rubbles by the side of asphalt road and able to identify it’s a remains of 1920’s or 1950’s … just a joke.
This letter, I picked up by a dump on the street side of Barcelona 20 years ago, once drove my imagination on. I was told (it was translated by my friend once but now I lost the transcript) that it was written a hundred years ago about the first night Barcelona had electric lights on. The joy behind this fascinated scene stroke me most. The glitter must have given those people faith and promise of the future.
From this little book,
there are interesting insights.
At the Natural History Museum you can see the remains of some unknown animal, put together to show how it would be if alive. Using the same principle you can not only build animals for the Museum but “imaginary Objects” as well putting together bits of unidentifiable odds and ends. Amazing!
The “Fossils of the year 2000” are found buried in methacrylate ( as opposed to amber) and they aren’t insects (even though they look like them at first sight) but the inner parts of radio valves (remember them/) expertly modeled by a contemporary operator.
The fossilization process conserves things from the past for the future.
To our Imaginary Archaeology Museum,
Explore “mysterious remains”
Associate random fragments
Imagine the entire story
Form a new way of thinking and seeing
Create new meaning in ordinary objects
It must be a fun adventure.