Friday, February 16, 2018

Weird Connections #374

Image result for athanasius kircher

System of Subterranean Fires from Mundus Subterraneus (1678 edn.) vol. 1, p. 194

Just want to make note of this before I forget - so last Monday, during the first class of my Intro Art History Survey class, I was explaining how Art History is mostly made up, and often within a generation or two the speculative interpretations of respected experts become ridiculous embarrassments, and I gave the first example that came to mind -- Athanasius Kircher's wildly inaccurate attempt at translating Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Robert Smithson After Athanasius Kircher, 1971, 12% x 15%", ink.

All well and good, moving right along, but when I attempted to get online during the break to access my roster and give out some secret codes for students who wanted to add the class, West's server was having one of its too-regular cognitive collapses, and refused to let me surf. So I was looking for options, and my wifi detector gave me the following options: wlacstudent; wlacfaculty, wlac_us (the art computer lab, which saved my ass); and... athanasiuskircher. 

Ed Asner and Billy Dee Williams examining System of Subterranean 
Fires diorama (M.A. Peers) at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, 2001

I was a little spooked by this, a little paranoid, a little everything, and I actually asked the class towards the end - "Um... do any of you have a device named Athanasius Kircher?" They all laughed, but no one fessed up. I remain mystified. The end.

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