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January, 2013 Monthly archive
Contents of an Ostrich's stomach

Frederick Willam Bond [1887-1942], Contents of an Ostrich’s stomach, circa 1930, collection of National Media Museum

The first time I have seen this photo I instantly thought about the beginning the Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić:

While at the Berlin zoo, beside the pool containing the live walrus, there is an unusual display. In a glass case are all the things found in the stomach of Roland the walrus, who died on 21 August 1961. Or to be precise:

a pink cigarette lighter, four ice-lolly sticks (wooden), a metal brooch in the form of a poodle, a beer-bottle opener, a woman’s bracelet (probably silver), a hair grip, a wooden pencil, a child’s plastic water pistol, a plastic knife, sunglasses, a little chain, a spring (small), a rubber ring, a parachute (child’s toy), a steel chain about 18 inches in length, four nails (large), a green plastic car, a metal comb, a plastic badge, a small doll, a beer can (Pilsner, half-pint), a box of matches, a baby’s shoe, a compass, a small car key, four coins, a knife with a wooden handle, a baby’s dummy, a bunch of keys (5), a padlock, a little plastic bag containing needles and thread.

The visitor stands in front of the unusual display, more enchanted than horrified, as before archeological exhibits. The visitor knows that their museum-display fate has been determined by chance (Roland’s whimsical appetite) but still cannot resist the poetic thought that with time the objects have acquired some subtler, secret connections.

This blog is meant to be such a random collection of everything my mind feeds on. I am curious myself what subtler, secret connections those inspirations will acquire. If at all they ever do.

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