The Wonder Project: adventures in cross-pollinating perspectives on nature

Lane, Trudy
O'Connor, Maria
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Master of Art and Design
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Auckland University of Technology

The urgencies of our age require we work together in new ways. The Wonder Project explores the development of a ‘social wunderkammer’ as a way to create inspiring modes of encounter across disciplines and cultures towards the reimagining of our perceptions of nature. Moments of wonder make us look again at how we conceive the world. A key strategy for this project has been to sight wonder in the immediate, everyday of my home and local environment, and developing these fascinations into topics for larger social encounters. Thus creating a way to encounter our world whereby a microcosm of the local holds significance for global environmental concerns.

With every discipline of knowing, nature becomes culture. Yet wonder rests in an acknowledgement of our unknowing, and a recognition of our ignorance. In an interdisciplinary encounter we enter an environment of unknowing. Through multi-faceted viewpoints, the extraordinary is revealed in and through the ordinary, becoming a means for the reimagining of political, religious, and ethical terrains. The micro and macrocosms of complexities and interconnections with which we are surrounded everyday are revealed for their global significance.

In an inversion of the historical and museum-originating wunderkammer collections of 16th to 18th century Europe, the project uses the subjectivity of knowledge to create a fluidity between boundaries of specialisation. To test the concept of a ‘social wunderkammer’, a first research site was formed in the SCANZ 2011: Eco sapiens hui/symposium. Findings from this have come to inform the second research site – a series of dinner/dialogue events called The Wonderlogues – sited in my home of Miranda also known as the House of Wonder.

The interdisciplinary and social aspects of the wunderkammer are thus activated as a long-term and sustainable curatorial and creative platform of enquiry. A practice which models the transformation of the hierarchical silos of orthodox learning environments based on a competition for our being in the world. Instead, we form ways to work collectively.

This project then becomes a new pedagogical formation for social change.

Wonder , Wunderkammer , Interdisciplinarity , Social practise , Social ecology and encounter , Intercultural dialogue , Art and science , Awe and complexity
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