Jesse Jarnow

the museum of jurassic technology, 2/06

The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, California is a most peculiar institution, dedicated to the preservation of knowledge equally wondrous and arcane, simultaneously authentic and dubious. As is pointed out in their opening presentation, a museum is a “spot dedicated to the muses,” and the MJT’s darkened halls — which seem to get more convoluted with each visit — are an improbable sanctuary in deepest Los Angeles.

Exhibits chronicle convergences, such as between opera singer Madelena Delani (below) and neurophysiologist Geoffrey Sonnabend.

One room (“The World is Bound With Secret Knots“) celebrates 17th century polymath Athanasius Kircher, who — among other things — believed that Nimrod’s construction of the Tower of Babel, whose size brushed the heavens, could have altered the Earth’s axis and caused a literal, geophysical catastrophe that, in turn, may have been the cause of the lingual chaos of the Bible story.

Elsewhere, there are three-dimensional X-rays of flowers (glasses required).

Next door, the institutionally related Center For Land Use Interpretation applies the MJT’s sense of wonder to the contemporary American landscape, maintaining a detailed database of high weirdness. On a touch screen, I traced our path across I-15 from the Nevada border onto the Los Angeles freeway (including an entry for the World’s Tallest Thermometer).

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Slaboch says: - reply

    Jesse,
    Thanks for reminding me about Kircher! I haven’t thought about him and his prolific drawings and rants in years.
    Best,
    Michael