The Museum of Subliminal Objects

I found the documentary we watched on The Museum of Jurassic Technology fascinating, and decided to do some more research into Guelph’s own “Museum of Subliminal Objects”. Heres what I found:


The museum was part of a pop up art instalment called the “Hatch” which took place in August, 2015, with the purpose of altering viewer’s perceptions of four formerly vacant spaces in Guelph.

The Museum of Subliminal Objects was created by disciplinary artist Steph Yates, who drew inspiration from Michael Gondry, a surrealist film director, best known for his work on “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Yates dressed the store front with “familiar objects altered and transformed into the stuff of dreams”. A Global Tribute article on the exhibit states:

“There are tea cups that drink their own tea, a plastic-wrapped rubber chicken with doll hands, and a bowler hat with eyes in its crown. There are also a series of oversized wrist watches with tiny silver figures affixed to the second hand and going around in circles like prisoners of time.”

I found the concept here to be very similar to “The Museum of Jurassic Technology” in that viewers are not told they are entering an surrealistic art experience, which challenges their perceptions of reality and allows them to have an genuine experience of bemusement, confusion and wonder.┬áThe exhibit ran only for a weekend, but the sign remains up today confusing passerbys, including myself.

A Walk Drawn by a Tree

When brainstorming ideas for my kilometre project, I was especially inspired by the work of Tim Knowles. Looking at his series “Tree Drawings” I found the work “Oak on Easel #1” reminded me of a map. This gave me the idea to appropriate Knowles idea of the tree drawing, but to let the tree draw on a map of my neighbourhood. I then followed the path drawn by a crab apple tree in my backyard (to the best of my ability, the tree had no regard for private property or the limitation of a kilometre). I dropped a variety of seeds on the ground as I walked, to hopefully foster the growth of new plants that will benefit the crabapple tree.

Here is the tree at work:


The drawing the tree produced:


Heres the route I actually walked:


I had to cheat a bit with the tree drawing by putting the marker at the starting point of my house. As I walked I also dropped a variety of seeds on the ground along the tree’s path. My original idea was to drop apple seeds, but couldn’t find anywhere where I could buy crabapple seeds and figured it would be unlikely for any of the seeds to grow successfully in an urban environment anyways. I instead bought seed packets of sage, thyme and catnip. I originally intended to also use shasta daisies (as in included in the photo below) but after doing some research I found out they are potentially invasive to Ontario, and chose not to use them. Thyme, catnip and sage however, are not invasive. They are also supposedly beneficial to bees and butterflies so hopefully, if any end up growing, they’ll be beneficial to the pollination of the crabapple tree as well. I felt slightly criminal dropping seeds on property I don’t own, but I doubt many of them will take and the action was more symbolic than it was an actual gardening effort. Following the path drawn by the tree was interesting because it took me to areas of my neighbourhood I don’t usually make an effort to visit. It was also interesting to take such an abstract and fleeting action (the movement of a marker in the wind) and turn it into something so concrete and potentially long lasting (the planting of seeds along a path).