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The Medicine Chest

A small medicine chest is housed in the Manuscripts and Archives (M&A) Department of the University of Cape Town. It has been rendered invisible in this facility because it exhibits characteristics that fall outside of those privileged by the library’s categorisation systems and its search engines. In my research, this chest was subjected to an object study which delivered a wide range of findings – most of these quite separate from the chest’s original intended use – and subsequently it became a prompt and a provocation to consider where else in the institution knowledge has similarly been rendered invisible by the taxonomic systems utilised in its various departments.


This website serves as a depository for these findings and co-opts the library's archival tools to now amplify the chest’s visibility in this facility and the larger institution. It incorporates a wide range of novel metadata that was generated when the chest intersected with the various disciplines in the institution and demonstrates its newfound applicability to these fields, at times hinting at connections that have not even been imagined just yet. The four curricula featured showcase how these findings can be collated into broader interdisciplinary themes and visually depict the connections they forge between diverse departments.

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