I couldn’t sleep the other night, thanks to too much coffee, too much heat and too many neurons performing their synaptical dance. Instead of thinking of things to sooth, calm and lull myself, I ended up thinking about things that fascinate me. Not regular things like belly buttons and dryer lint, but things that really really fascinate me.
1) Cuneiform. Yes, that ancient stepping stone between expressing oneself through pictorgraphs, and expressing oneself through phonetic symbols. Imagine the cognitive leap between “I want to preserve information about a horse, so I’ll draw a [stylized] representation of a horse” and “I want to preserve information about a horse, so I’ll use a few arbitrary lines to represent it”. In itself that’s a pretty big leap…but then you’ve got to get all your educated buddies to recognize and conform to what your doing. Then, from that, comes the realization that by agreeing on arbitrary symbols, you can represent things other than nouns. All of a sudden you can start recording concepts like love, faith, adoration, and pride, for posterity. It’s really amazing when you think about it.
2) Historical Fashion. In particular, the 18th and 19th Centuries can keep me occupied for hours. It’s fun to make connections and see how changes in the political or social events of the time affect changes in fashion. Also, what moron invented the cinched corset, and why did women agree to wear it? And to think that the hoop skirt was actually considered a practical solution. Interesting.
3) Why on earth didn’t I go into Museum Studies at university?