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The Medicine Chest

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  • Livingstone

    A small wooden chip from the same object collection as the medicine chest balanced on top of one of the bottles from the chest. "The treatment, the Livingstone rouser, was formulated by Dr Livingstone, who, after an attack of malaria in 1853, patented this mixture of quinine and purgatives (calomel, rhubarb and jalop) mixed with opium (Barrett & Giordani 2017: 1655–1666). The chip balanced on its lid is said to be from the almond tree under which he proposed to Mary Moffat in 1844. The juxtaposition of these two objects, one representing the quantifiable and the other the poetic, draws the viewer to consider the conflation of these two realms" (Liebenberg 2021: 273).
  • Page 135 of the Curiosity CLXXV catalogue

    "Peering into one of them could, for instance, reveal musical instruments from the South African College of Music’s Kirby collection; old wooden mathematical models of abaci and polyhedrons from the Maths department; mobiles demonstrating platonic solids made by mechanical engineering students; publications by a UCT Professor of Astronomy; a sign pointing to ward D10 from the old section of Groote Schuur Hospital; glass slides once used as a teaching aid for art history at Michaelis; bird ringing material from the Avian Demography unit; and a bottle-brush plant labelled by the son of one of the curators" (Liebenberg 2021: 179).
  • Door, 11 rue Larrey, New York.

  • ​Navigation chart, Micronesia

    "Early Pacific seafarers did not have scientific instruments or conventional European-style maps to voyage to, and settle, the thousands of islands of Micronesia and Polynesia. Instead they used the movement of the sea, the direction of the wind, the position of the sun and stars, and the flight of birds. This is a navigation chart, obtained by Georg Irmer, the Governor of the Marshall Islands from Chief Nalu of Jaluit atoll in 1896. The strips of wood, bound by cane, represent the currents and winds, and the six small, white shells represent islands".
  • Coda

    Metronome, fishing hook, sinker, crimp and laboratory clamp. The fishing sinker supplies a counter weight, which allows ticking to continue even though the metronome is suspended upside down. The weight is however, exercising a force which will inevitably exhaust the metronome spring, causing it to cease functioning.
  • Chip of wood from an almond tree

    Said to be a chip from the tree under which David Livingstone is said to have proposed to Mary Moffat 1884. Wood chip was donated by R.F. Immelman who purchased it from Kimberley museum.
  • "I have scars on my hands from touching certain people"

    "The words of Seymour Glass, eldest sibling of the Glass family – a lesser known creation of J.D. Salinger’s literary world. The story of this family of child geniuses, who appeared on a 1927 radio quiz show called 'It’s a Wise Child', is chronicled in three of his books – mostly centering on the relationship between the two eldest brothers, Buddy and Seymour. Salinger favours Seymour. He was the most brilliant and idiosyncratic of all the children and unfortunately, for the most part, only present as a memory – since he committed suicide, age 31. ​Buddy reminisces about one specific Seymour moment: His mother urging him to see a psychiatrist and him telling her that he doesn’t need a head doctor – he needs a hand doctor or a dermatologist, whereupon he looks at his hands and tells her he has these scars – these discolourations on them – from touching certain people. Certain heads, certain colours and textures of human hair leave permanent marks on him. When he put his hand on his little sister Franny’s head when she was still in the carriage, it left a mark. Or with her twin brother, Zooey, when he was six or seven, during a spooky movie. He put his hand on Zooey’s head when he went under the seat to avoid watching a scary scene. It left a mark. Other things, too. Charlotte, the girl he was in love with, tried to run away from him once and he grabbed her dress. It left a permanent lemon-yellow mark on the palm of his right-hand (Salinger 1964:59). His hands were filled with these discolourations – these physical manifestations of his emotions. They became a type of medical condition. And he needed to cure it" (Liebenberg 2011: 91 - 93). Salinger recounts the day of Seymour's suicide in a short story he later wrote, called 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish'.
  • Neck-support

    "Made from oak, the object was used to support the neck of an individual during post-mortem examinations conducted at the University of Cape Town’s mortuary unit. My first encounter with it was in Dr Yeats’s office in the Pathology Learning Centre, many years ago. Heavy in weight and invested with the traces of hundreds of individuals, it somehow seemed more representative of disease, than the 3500 specimens floating in formaldehyde displayed in the surrounding rooms " ( Liebenberg 2021: 257).
  • Amelia

    "We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait." On July 2, 1937 Model 10 Electra 1055 piloted by Amelia Earhart with navigator Fred Noonan took off from Lae Airfield, New Guinea and was never seen again. Earhart's last radio message was estimated to be within 200 miles of her destination Howland Island. Burn holes made with a magnifying glass on a handkerchief which corresponds to the positioning of the stars as observed from the place, date and time Amelia Earhart sent her last broadcast.
  • Amelia (detail)

    "We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait." On July 2, 1937 Model 10 Electra 1055 piloted by Amelia Earhart with navigator Fred Noonan took off from Lae Airfield, New Guinea and was never seen again. Earhart's last radio message was estimated to be within 200 miles of her destination Howland Island. Burn holes made with a magnifying glass on a handkerchief which corresponds to the positioning of the stars as observed from the place, date and time Amelia Earhart sent her last broadcast.
  • Unknown object

    Unknown object. Currently being explored.
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