Sunday, November 12, 2006

Only 312 days until Wacky Web Site Day!

Mark your calendars! Or if you buy the Wacky Web Sites Page-A-Day Calendar 2007, you won't have to, because Sept. 20, 2007 will already be marked as the day the Zymoglyphic Museum is the official Wacky Web Site of the day. This honor comes on the heels of the recent successes of the museum's marketing department's low-key strategy of basically not doing any marketing. The museum was recently listed on Neatorama, a site with some two million daily pageviews. It was suggested to them by Presurfer and picked up later by a number of other sites, including Monster Brains, NetKulture (sounds better in French!), and Grow-A-Brain (lumped in with Alzheimer's art and next to art made from dog food). A blogger known only as Jeff said "One of the neatest things I've ever seen. The Hallowed Pussy would feel right at home here." No idea what he meant by that, and the entry has since vanished.

The upshot was a multi-day spike in web traffic and an additional blog subscriber or two, bringing that count close to double digits. By the way, if you wish to subscribe to the blog via e-mail (not a bad idea considering how erratically it is updated) and don't know what RSS means, just send in your e-mail address and you can receive it that way. E-mail subscriptions come with the usual lifetime no-spam guarantee.

Now, our curatorial department might well prefer a grad student or two to write a scholarly treatise on the museum instead of the "wacky web site", or "zymo-what?", approach, but we will take what we can get. The museum has yet to find its Lawrence Weschler, who chronicled the Museum of Jurassic Technology. The Museum of Dust has come pretty close when not distracted by territorial spats and interplanetary intrigue. We and the MoD were featured recently on BlueTea's virtual museum tour, and this Live Journal entry was particularly endearing. We offered her a job, but she ultimately declined. Other blogosphere musings on the museum can be found here, here, and here.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Further Adventures of the Zymoglyphic Mermaids

Jenny Haniver and her cousin, the Zymoglyphic Mermaid, featured here recently, have been conscripted by the Museum of Dust to help out in Terra Incognita's impending war with the Republic of Tinselman. This so-called "republic" is actually run by a khan, or perhaps some other of the ever-changing panoply of tyrants and despots that seem to take turns ruling the place, with media magnate Rupert Murdoch apparently in on it too. Mermaids have historically played roles of destructive seduction, and our "paragons of pulchritude" (in our director's well-turned phrase), have been assigned to lead Mr. Murdoch astray. We have received news that Murdoch is now "fully occupied on the tiny islands off RoTs borders explaining cross-media ownership laws to the Zymoglyphic Mermaid and Jenny Hanniver". Tinselman appears at the moment to be coming unglued due to the extreme convolutions of its own plotlines, and may simply collapse of its own weight.

The Leatherwing, show above, is from the Zymoglyphic Museum's natural history collection. A more primitive relation of the Zymoglyphic Mermaid, it is a night-flying creature that may be useful for espionage and reconnaissance purposes. We will await word from Director de Plume on its mission.

On a taxonomic note, we must distinguish between the mermaids native to the Zymoglyphic region (order Rajiformes) and their distant cousins, the "Feejee mermaids". The latter are distinguished by a simian appearance in the upper body and a generally agonized facial expression (as opposed to the winning smiles on our own beauties). The "Feejee mermaids" originated in the waters of the western Pacific; that portion of their history is ably chronicled by Pink Tentacle. P.T. Barnum acquired one of these and made it famous. Due to the lack of genitalia (because of the lack of a crotch in which to contain them), there is some gender ambiguity, and they are also known as mermen. Modern specimens can be found here and here.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Mysterious Document Surfaces

The Zymoglyphic Museum has somewhat of a reputation as a "museum of decay" (undoubtedly a factor in its recent targeting by the Museum of Dust). A mysterious document has recently surfaced that may or may not help explain the origins of this phenomenon. This loose notebook page was found deep in the curator's personal archives. It appears to be the record of some sort of archeological dig, apparently in his closet. The manual timestamp on the document indicates that the dig was most likely in preparation for leaving home and heading off to college a continent away.

Here is a literal transcription of the document:

2 very stale pieces of bread w/casts of pupae, presumably carpet beetles, as dead same found there also. Open can, no mold on bread
Cardboard can w/mistletoe, dead and moldy
Separate substance so moldy as to be unrecognizable
Piece of wrapped cheese, brown liquidy and stinking like hell
Dried leaf of lichen, brown but not moldy
Plastic dish with spoon and white powder
Nylon plankton net
Mold on plate under glass, indicating square outline of something that had been there. No smell.
Jar with moldy prunes - now only moldy pits are left & some gunk on sides & bottom of jar. No smell. Rotting for many years
Old spider nests in jars found in closet - explains spiders in here. Jar w/bread(?) explains beetles. Now how did sow bugs get in here?


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Skulduggery and Intrigue in the Museum World

The Zymoglyphic Museum has been targeted by the Museum of Dust for a hostile takeover. We recognize that due to staffing shortages the Zymoglyphic Museum's cleanliness may not be up to snuff (and noting that some staff believe that the accumulated dust enhances, rather than detracts from, the exhibits, by lending them a certain air of authenticity and credbility), and that the museum does indeed have a high concentration of desirable rust and decay, and further that the museum, as with all things, must eventually return to dust. Still, we had not expected it to come so soon. The museum's board is meeting even now to assess the threat.

The facts we have so far are these: The Museum of Dust's director goes by the highly suspicious name of Incognita Nom de Plume, or some variation thereof, and has an implausibly long personal history, involving an arachnoid accomplice (who sounds dangerous) and a mysterious entity called "Musrum" whose museum seems destined to suffer a fate similar to our own. We suspect this cabal may be associated with the equally shadowy Athanasius Kircher "Society", of which Kircher himself is the recording secretary and apparently its only member. Kircher had his own museum in Rome over 300 years ago (reduced to dust by now), and had not been heard from since then until he entered the modern age by becoming, like so many others, a blogger.

We will be sifting through the evidence for further clues.

-- Museum Staff

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Open Studios 2006 Report

The annual public opening of the museum has come and gone, although readers may still make arrangements for a visit. There was a good turnout considering the relative isolation of the site and a freakish rainstorm which, for some reason, after weeks of clear weather, pummeled the area on those two days only.

This event is a unique opportunity for me see how people react to the museum and its contents. Considering the number of skulls, dead animals, and unnaturally large insects used, I'm surprised that only a few people find it gross and most find it amusing or even whimsical. Nearly all would agree, I'm sure, that it is at least "different". Kids especially enjoy it - one was particularly absorbed in the dioramas and couldn't stop laughing. On a previous event, two little girls played "I spy", trying to find some obscure object in a diorama. Curious neighbors come by. Best of all, people offer me odd things that they have collected and don't know what to do with. I think the work often appeals to people who probably would never go to a museum or art gallery. Ultimately, I would like people to be inspired to do something creative with their own collections and things that they feel compelled to pick up, not feeling that they need to have art skills or training.

For more on the event from another perspective, see here


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Museum to be Open to the Public May 20-21

The Zymoglyphic Museum will be open to the public May 20th and 21st as part of Silicon Valley Open Studios!

For a formal invitation to the festivities in PDF format, click here.

Previous visitors will be pleased to note that there have been a number of new acquisitions since the last opening a year ago. These include five new artifacts, two curiosity collections, and a set of acrylic paintings. In addition, the museum's recently expanded crab collection will be on display. You may refer here for a preview of the recent acquisitions.

Also on site will be the delectable metalwork and artist's books of Judith Hoffman

You may wish to make your visit part of a more comprehensive tour of the Peninsula's Open Studios. Click here for information. Tour maps and catalogs will be available at the museum.

-- The museum staff


Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Traveling Crustacean Mini-diorama

Last summer I was invited to participate in a project called The Curiosity Cabinet of the Collective Unconscious. The "cabinet" in question was an old library card catalog. Each participant got a drawer in which to create something having to do with the "collective unconscious". In mine, I ended up making a diorama featuring a little family of 3 crab carapaces in a wooded setting (shown here - click for larger view). I mostly work by just putting things together, often precariously, carrying them out to the museum, and possibly having to repair them when Open Studios rolls around. This was the first time that I had made something that needed to be shipped somewhere. The crabs had wires for legs, so they could be secured fairly easily, and the rest was glued or wired down. It was worth it to me to be part of a collaborative project, which was a welcome change for me.
The drawer had its debut with the rest of the cabinet at the Hive Gallery in August, which provided me with a good excuse to go down to L.A. for an extended weekend. The cabinet then traveled to Burning Man in September to become part of a funhouse that was installed in the base of the Man. The cabinet must have survived the inevitable fiery immolation of its host, as it has recently surfaced again at Create:Fixate in Los Angeles.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The story of how the museum came to be

The museum's curator has been kind enough to submit a personal history of the Zymoglyphic Museum from its humble beginnings as a 10 year old's natural history museum and zoo to the vibrant melange that you see today. The catalog of holdings from that first museum still survives today, and a page from it is shown here.

-- The Museum Staff


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Museum article in Matrix magazine

The museum is pleased to announce its first foray into the print world! Issue #72 of Matrix (Fall 2005) has just been published with a three-page article on the museum, as part of the "New Victorians" theme of the issue. The article includes eight color photographs of objects from the collections, with explanatory text. Matrix is a longtime Canadian literary and art magazine published in Montreal.

The text of the article was submitted by the museum at the magazine editor's request. It is an abbreviated version of an ongoing museum project, a printed guide to the museum and its collections.

-- The Museum Staff

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Is it art?

When people find out that there is a museum in my driveway, they often want to know what it is about. I like to have a supply of business cards with me so I can hand them one and say "It's hard to explain - just go to the Web site". This blog is an attempt to do some explaining and comments are welcome.

The museum started out as a collection of objects that seemed interesting in themselves but were even more interesting when combined together, either in little scenes or as new objects. The scenes became dioramas and the objects gathered into collections and exhibits; eventually the museum came into existence. As art, it would be considered "assemblage art", but the museum is not really part of the art world - I feel more kinship with "outsider" artists who are simply creating without regard for art world status or making a living at it.


A peek behind the scenes

The Zymoglyphic Museum is an attempt to tie together many themes and variations into a coherent whole. It is part curiosity cabinet, part shrine, part alter ego, and part alchemist's laboratory. Its fields of study encompass art (high and low brow), science, and spirituality. The museum's curator has graciously (if somewhat reluctantly) agreed to pull aside the veil of mystery surrounding the museum and provide regular reports on various aspects of the museum's history and current projects. We hope to get him to reveal some secrets of how the museum's exhibits are made and maybe even what they mean. The accompanying photograph shows the museum's exhibit development area.

-- The Museum Staff


Sunday, November 27, 2005

New Painting Gallery!

The museum has opened a new gallery to house a recently acquired batch of acrylic paintings. These paintings represent a new direction in Zymoglyphic art away from found-object assembage, but in keeping with the theme of the "Primordial Ooze".

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