The museum challenge

2022-06-11 @Blog

The other day I stumbled into the Forte do Presepio museum, already exhausted, legs heavy, but curious notwithstanding. Seemed to fit the profile of small and more easily manageable. To my surprise, the exposition would legitimately tickle my curiosity: so much so, that midway through, I sensed too much haste, deemed the perusal too superficial, and backed to square one as if stricken by a poor die combination in a game of Monopoly.

I made attempts to peruse the descriptions more thoroughly, yet sensed increasing tension, increased weight with each pass. I then thought to capture the text with my tiny camera, vainly imagining to later review the stills. Alas, the battery had effused its last ampere, roughly a bimonthly happenstance at my current usage. Frustrating, but then I figured my fortune as not entirely malformed, having managed to snap a crooked still of a post-apocalyptic alley corner shortly prior.

But how to address the museum dilemma? Too anxious and exhausted to scan entire sentences, camera dysfunctional: I set to annotate mere subject headings in my index-card pad, ink barely legible, hasty handwriting barely discernible: Culture X, ceramic Y, urn Z, Conquest of Α painter Β etcetera. For surely I shall later address these topics.

Would it be too much to ask the photography photographing cell-phone photographer to my side to send me those photographs? Email please, not too large, lest the email server reject the transmission. Not too small in respect for legibility. And better to distribute over multiple emails. Surely not unreasonable. Just lacking willpower.

These museum visits induce too much stress. I’d far sooner consume the same historical facts (inasmuch as the factual objectivity prescribed to history) out of a book, no, scratch that, well, perhaps, should it be an ancillary topic in a work of literature, though better yet out of a fold-out pamphlet collapsed on an ottoman, no, scratch that, better yet the floor, the terrestrial connection all the more intimate, the earth, the rocks, the remembrance, the immortality.

Curiously, a few plaques spoke of the ancient Tupinamb√° culture of Northern Brazil, their customs and, infamously, the cannibalistic endeavours akin to the invading groups, practiced in controlled ritualistic ceremonies involving impressive bonfire roastings. Barbarians, they were notoriously construed through the European lens. Fascinating in its own right, but here I recalled the famous chapter of Montaigne’s essays dedicated to the same group (never exclusively referenced, but asserted elsewhere), the prose far more compelling next to the museum inscriptions I felt ill-equipped to read to completion, though mightily impressed by the engravings of decapitated forearms and lower extremities.

Questions, comments? Connect.