Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics RoomLog 7 - Science Fact and Fiction
Log 7 - Science Fact and Fiction

Dunedin Roundup
Gwynneth Porter


In lieu of a Dunedin round-up (because nothing really happens in the Riviera of the Antarctic over summer-oh except an out-of-it fire in a panel-beaters' shop next to the Speights Brewery. Drinkers from Rattray St bars stood with their glasses watching the fireballs believing tearfully that it was the brewery that was on fire. And a veritable police state atmosphere swishin' around over all Dunedin ne'er-do-wells...) here are two pageworks by a couple of dead scientific artists who have passed through the DPAG.

Accidents and Emergencies Denise Kum
Accidents and Emergencies, 1999

Denise Kum installed her most excellent Saucebox and Laurence Aberhart is one of our 1999 visiting artist programme residents. Denise's polaroids were taken on-set (she does good disaster make-up) and Laurence Aberhart, with old friend Bill Hammond and a drinking buddy of Bill's, took theirs out the back of the Museum of NZ before it left Buckle St and became Te Papa. Which is no longer a museum, art museum or what-have-you. They were allowed carte blanche access to the back rooms of the museum, and here are some photos taken out back at the wonderful wonderful Taranaki St natural history store. This place is the wowiest museum place Aotearoa has. I worry, and so do, I imagine, Hammond and Aberhart, that this is an at risk place. Te Papa's natural history collections and research department are vast and beautiful, but I hear a clock ticking. The end is nigh. Nothing this unsound can last in a PC environment. Especially something that so poetically spells out man's wanderlust, its cruelty, its wild desire.

While Wellington gets Star Trek, y'all can see photos that demonstrate science is not a subject, it is a method. Science fiction might be in part costume drama but it is more to do with how deep down we all know we are on earth to be excited. But unfortunately humans have way more time than life. Science fiction gives us a vision of the future that shows the world changed; concentrated and exciting. Perhaps it's so successful because it gives us hope that the crummy terrifying present might give way to something better and more profound, wonderfully scary even, where quick death is entirely possible. And that even if we are haunted by the past, we need not let it trick us into lamely following the same old path.

Thank you Charles Darwin, Edgar Allan Poe, Frank Herbert, and Dr. Happiness wedded to science himself, Charles Baudelaire. And death to all those who have brought about the frightening news that the two leading causes of divorce in the US are presently debt and the internet. Yes. When poverty (howl at the moon) comes knocking at the door, love flies out the window. I truly believe that at present (I'm a loser) none of the things people hang onto and are so unhappy about would remain in place if they won a shitload of money. In the words of Spacedust "I can see their pale blue eyeballs clear as day".

Spacedust are conceptually sound and give me great joy and will give me something to see when they come south in their national tour in May "First to the Future. Word." Indeed, all the clues were there when our science teachers had us make copper sulphate crystals out of a saturated blue liquid.

Gwynneth Porter
Winter 1999



Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics Room