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  • Archive for November, 2011

    Why I like cryptozoologists – an UnConventional view

    By Jack Ashby, on 17 November 2011

    Big Foot crossing I am very fond of cryptozoologists. I’m not one myself, but I think they are great. I spent Saturday at the Fortean Times’ annual symposium, UnConvention 2011. This is a weekend of talks about all things paranormal, organised by the magazine Fortean Times (The World of Strange Phenomena), but cryptozoology is the reason I went. Well, the reason I went is because two dear friends of the Grant Museum were speaking and I rarely get to see them. One is Richard Freeman, Zoological Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology (the world’s largest professional cryptozoological organisation) and the other is Brian Regal, an academic historian of science interested in the relationship between science and pseudo-science and the history of Big Foot.

    Cryptozoology, for those who don’t know, is the study of hidden animals, or cryptids. The bread and butter of it is animals unknown to science like yetis, sasquatch and Nessie; but also includes animals that are considered extinct, like thylacines; and animals beyond their normal ranges, like big cats on Dartmoor. (more…)

    New Media Works at UCL Art Museum

    By Andrea Fredericksen, on 16 November 2011

    Tessa Power, Channel (2010)

    By Cathrine Alice Liberg

    Every year UCL Art Museum acquires student works from the Slade School of Fine Art through the William Coldstream Memorial Prize, an annual purchase prize which recognizes a student’s particular excellence in any medium. In 2010, the prize was awarded to Tessa Power for her video installation Channel, and as a museum intern, completing a History of Art Material Studies (HAMS) placement, I have had the pleasure of setting up her work as one of the first digital art objects to be showcased at UCL Art Museum. It will feature as part of our current exhibition Word & Image, which is on display throughout the autumn term. (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Five

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 14 November 2011

    Scary MonkeyAs winter attempts quite convincingly to chill our doors, I thought I’d turn our attention down south and feature a mammal from the Antarctic. The first mammal to be featured in Specimen of the Week (pretty exciting stuff I know you’ll agree) this week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)

    A box, an object, several hundred conversations

    By Celine West, on 11 November 2011

    After months of design meetings, discussions about materials, worries about portability, and hiccups during fabrication, our new outreach “pod” is finished. The designers call it a portable gallery, and that’s probably the best description. As you can see from the photos here, it has a mirrored interior, creating the feel of an infinite space. It’s 2.2mx2.2m inside but does feel much bigger. At the same time, it does what we wanted and creates an intimate and immersive environment, where people come in and immediately forget what’s going on outside.


    Is Planet Dinosaur a Documentary?

    By Mark Carnall, on 9 November 2011

    Nearly three years ago I wrote a book chapter called Walking with dragons: CGIs in Wildlife ‘Documentaries’ the abstract can be found here. For one reason or another the book will only just be coming out someday soon, which means the content of the chapter went from state of the art, through to snapshot of thought in the noughties and is now practically an historical essay, such is the speed in which visual technologies change. The short summary of the chapter is that (chiming with Sir David Attenborough’s recent comments) CGI documentaries like Walking With Dinosaurs are a product of fact inspired fiction and presented as educational programmes. Ideally, this means that they should be as intellectually transparent as possible, the facts that inspire the fiction should be highlighted so audience members can get an idea of where porgramme makers have used artistic license to create an entertainment product. Can this be achieved in CGI documentaries without taking away from the spectacle of shows like Walking with Dinosaurs? This fact from which the fiction is derived can be called paradata and my book chapter examines how the paradata can be shown in these kinds of programmes. (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Four

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 7 November 2011

    Scary MonkeyWelcome to the 100th UCL Museums and Collections blog post!!! What an honour! I shall definitely be sharing a wine with scary monkey (see left) later on and he says he gives you all permission to leave work early for the momentous occasion. When you first start writing a weekly blog you suddenly become very aware of time and more to the point, how quickly it whips by! Already it is week four of the new specimen of the week blog. Someone pointed out yesterday it was only seven weeks until the new year. Frightening!


    Anywho, this week I have decided to choose one of my most favourite animals to tell you about. It is one of the largest species of the group to which it belongs and famous for its weird appearance. This week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)