Monday, April 22, 2013

Field Trip: The Elli Buk Collection

So yesterday a couple of members of the masthead and I went to Dedham Mass. to check out the Elli Buk Collection, which is on exhibition prior to its being up for auction this week.

Elli Buk was a collector of scientific and medical equipment of the last two centuries and his collection is a massive testament to the failed and obsolete in the world of technology. In other words: absolute Renfusa-bait.

Here were the gleaming brass artifacts of Victorian science: telescopes, microscopes. And there were the glowing cathode-ray and vacuum tubes of post-war prosperity: radios, televisions. I'm sure our esteemed Euergetas will speak of her adoration for the medical models, ossified animals, and other biological oddities contained in the collection, but for me it was all those lovely technological dead-ends that spoke to me.

At a certain point, I lay down my iPhone to collect the collection catalogue I was holding, and I thought to myself, in two centuries will curious onlookers queue to take a peek at a deadtech iPhone, its rounded curves and sleek touchscreen looking as baroque to the 23rd century as the gleaming imitation ivory panels, gem-like red indicator lights, and molded animal feet of the electrical generators littering this exhibition?

This is an X-ray shoe fitting machine. No, seriously.

The collection is on display through next weekend and the auctions begin on Thursday.