oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen

Darwin goes steampunk

Yesterday afternoon/evening I went to a special event at the American Philosophical Society. First, I got to see a few nifty items from their collections including one of Meriwether Lewis' journals; the first letter ever sent by airmail: William Franklin (estranged son of Ben) sent it from England to France via balloon to his own son, who happened to be serving as Ben's secretary at the time; and an early copy of the Constitution of the United States, indexed and annotated by Ben Franklin in the margins.

Then we all trooped across the street to see the Darwin exhibit that's been running since last year. Their space is small, but was dense with information. The coolest part was an art installation by Eve Andrée Laramée that had been commissioned especially. Four vitrines around the edges of the room held steampunk interpretations of Darwin's "lost" notebooks about extracting memories from stones, recording the dreams of plants, and a calculator for perceptual awareness. (The link leads to pictures of the art.)

The funniest thing ever was hearing our docent say "steampunk" to a roomful of people who were very unlikely to have any knowledge of such a sub-genre. She did a great job of explaining it concisely and clearly, but I was still amused because I felt like I'd fallen briefly into a different world than my usual one.
Tags: my life

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