Visual Research Activity: Curiosities and Crawfish

Carrie Jones

Part I: Visual Research Analysis

“Ole Worm Returns: An Iconic 17th Century Curiosity Cabinet is Obsessively Recreated” by Allison Meier was published April 30, 2013 on Atlas Obscura, an obscure travel guide website. Meir discusses artist Rosamond Purcell’s modern day take on Ole Worm’s iconic Museum Wormianum.The unique arrangement titled “One Room” is on display at the Geological Museum at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. I was drawn to this article given my interest in cabinets of curiosity and the organization and display of objects. Meier argues, “Museums are often as interesting in their modes of organizing and collecting as the objects they collect themselves, reflecting a universal fascination with material things and how to order them as a reflection of our world.”
Engraving of the Museum Wormianum from 1655
Museum Wormianum by Jens Astrup

Meier uses images to demonstrate the importance of organization in this exhibition. I found it helpful that she provided a historical example of what this exhibit is modeled after. This visual was a useful comparison tool. Part of Meier’s job as a writer for Atlas Obscura is to entice the reader to visit the destination she writes about. Not only did she write about the importance and uniqueness of the space but also provided enough images to entice me to see the real thing. At the bottom of the article Meier provides a map of the museum, an important visual tool for anyone planning a trip. If Denmark were more accessible I would definitely visit this exhibit.

Part II: Visual Research (Process)
Many of Louisiana’s traditions revolve around the ritual meal. These meals provide an opportunity to gather together and celebrate whether that is a significant life event or simply the changing of a season. The crawfish boil is a particular favorite of mine. These gatherings usually occur in outdoor spaces where loud music and large amounts of beer are provided. Since our move to Philadelphia Michael and I have been missing these ritual meals and in lieu of the season particularly the crawfish boil. So, when Michael’s boss provided an opportunity to carry on this tradition to the East coast we simply couldn’t resist.
A traditional crawfish boil set up- newspaper and a lot of space.
Crawfish live in the mud so cleaning them before cooking is a necessity. This task was accomplished in the bathtub. 
The spicy water mixture contains lemons, vegetables, seasonings, bay leaves, and hot sauce. Hot dogs are placed in after the crawfish to soak up flavor.
The crawfish are stirred frequently.
Cooked crawfish are bright red with curled tails.
 Only a small portion of the crawfish is deemed edible by most.

Boiling crawfish in our 300 square foot apartment proved to be a great and incredibly frustrating challenge. At the end of it all we were pleased with the outcome. The crawfish that didn’t make it through the night were cooked in a delicious etouffee.