Sunday, 7 February 2010

Oops - you have not learned a single thing.

Ah, dystopias! THX 1138 presented us with an unrelenting, white future, 1984 with the regulation of information and Brazil with the humorous side of bureaucracy. The directors of London's Natural History Museum have obviously not seen these movies. If they had, the irony of the giant comedy egg they have just built would not be as lost on them.

After last Friday's V&A debacle we decided to trek back to South Kensington to look at the Renaissance galleries again. We followed this up with a visit to the new Darwin wing at the neighboring NHM. Which is, basically, nature presented by Jonathan Ive in a big concrete egg-thing. We queued to get a (free) ticket, were issued cards with bar codes, queued again to get into a lift, walked down a series of ramps featuring lot of digital "exhibits" and queued again to get into another lift to leave. Admittedly my chum and I were probably not in the best mood for such things as we had spent the previous hour decrying the lack of traditional exhibits and specimens in museums. However, being patronized by a UI in the first room did not do the museum any favors.

Design wise, the place is a competent example of post-iMac cleanliness replete with restrained sans-serif signage and subtle blue floor-lights. We were impressed with the scale of the egg structure which contains the new galleries, but the sense that the thing's shape simply wastes space and that procedures are overly-bureaucratic did not escape us. Having learned very little we headed back to the old Waterhouse galleries to admire the whimsical sculptures in his "cathedral to nature".

An electron scanning microscope portrait of some wee beastie. Apparently they make white cocoons to capture, restrain and infuriate prey. Oh, wait a minute...

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