Stolen Property (Wunderkammer) Publication

  • Josh Hester

The wunderkammer, or wonder-room or cabinet of wonder, emerged in mid-sixteenth-century as a storeroom to house all manner of objects, trinkets and curiosities, discoveries claimed (or poached) from the man-made and natural world. Precursor to the modern museum, these collections reflect the individual behind them, mirroring their compulsions, values and cultural background, as much as the distant curios they hold and present. Visible within the Wunderkammer is the silhouette of the gatherer, and the act gathering. To gather implies to seek, to look for and find; to be open and receptive to what is around, within the vicinity and further afield; it means to pursue inquisitively. The cabinet the metaphorical basket; it is a museum, a place to store and collect. This project is effectively an editorial cabinet of curiosity, a repository for wondrous texts, images, objects and artifacts

Don’t Be a Hoarder

We all carry around the weird and wonderful things we’ve come across while doing our work and living our lives. These mental scrapbooks form our tastes, and our tastes influence our work. There’s not as big of a difference between collecting and creating as you might think.
Our tastes make us what we are, but they can also cast a shadow over our own work. “All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste,” says public radio personality Ira Glass. “But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.” Before we’re ready to take the leap of sharing our own work with the world, we can share our tastes in the work of  others.
Where do you get your inspiration? What sorts of things do you fill your head with? What do you read? Do you subscribe to anything? What sites do you visit on the Internet? What music do you listen to? What movies do you see? Do you look at art? What do you collect? What’s inside your scrapbook? What do you pin to the corkboard above your desk? What do you stick on your refrigerator? Who’s done work that you admire? Who do you steal ideas from? Do you have any heroes? Who do you follow online? Who are the practitioners you look up to in your field?
Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do - sometimes even more than your own work.

No Guilty Pleasures

The most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles ... and the most marvelous examples.” All it takes to uncover hidden gems is a clear eye, an open mind, and a willingness to search for inspiration in places other people aren’t willing or able to go.
We all love things that other people think are garbage.
When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it.
Have the guts to own all of it. Don’t give in to the pressure to self-edit too much.
Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things, too.