Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month: July 2016
By Mark Carnall, on 28 July 2016
Welcome to the 44th underwhelming fossil fish of the month! I did some calculations and that’s 3.6666666666667 years of underwhelming fossil fish. Lesser websites would call that a cause for celebration but for UFFotM, we don’t let such astonishing milestones get in the way of a dry and boring examination of a fossil fish from the Grant Museum of Zoology’s collections.
As you probably undoubtedly know, London Art Week was earlier this month and the Victoria and Albert Museum won the 2016 ArtFund Museum of Year Award so this month’s underwhelming fossil fish is brought to you in the style of a “gallery-based celebration of pre-contemporary art” in solidarity with our colleagues across the Arts sector
and in the hope of an award too.
PLACODERMES DE LA TERRE
Underwhelming fossil fish explores the relationship between post-life sensibilities and heritage ethics.
Ever since I was a small child I have been fascinated by the unrelenting diversity of coccosteid ways of being and the abecedarian efforts for arrangement. What starts out as yearning soon becomes manipulated into a dialectic of distress, leaving only a sense of unreality and the unlikelihood of a new synthesis.
Pennyland, the ancestral home of this fossile fragment, is nostalgia for the Middle to Late Devonian strata throughout Europe. As intermittent derivatives become distorted through emergent and academic practice, the viewer is left with a hymn to the possibilities of our condition.*
Preservation: To be a fossil is to believe in death (2)
Research: Palaeontology is not what you see, but what you make others see (7)
In Society: Ichnology is an extinct animal that went for a walk (2)
Underwhelmingness: Taphonomy make perfection, and perfection is no taphonomy (8)
*Help with the contemporary art interpretation from http://www.artybollocks.com/#abg_full
Mark Carnall is the Collections Manager (Life Collections) at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and former Curator of the Grant Museum