the wonder cabinet


Steffen Dam’s Cabinets of Curiosities

Danish artist Steffen Dam’s grandfather, born in 1893, was a passionate amateur in the field of natural history.  As a child, Dam enjoyed pouring over his grandfather’s library of scientific books full of illustrations of specimens.

Today Dam, a highly skilled glass blower, uses his affinity for natural history to create his imaginatively wonderful backlit “Cabinets of Curiosities”. 

Mimicked oceanic specimens in glass cylinders seemingly containing liquid and air bubbles become optical illusions; the translucent character of the glass object in the cylinder imitates sea life. His specimens aren’t actually objects found in nature, rather a quirky re-writing of the biological world.

“I have been working with glass for 25 years. Initially I was blowing glass, but over the years casting, grinding and techniques from other crafts emerged. My aim is to describe the world as I see it. One could also say to describe what’s not tangible and understandable with our everyday senses. My cylinders contain nothing that exists in the ocean, my specimens are plausible but not from this world, my plants are only to be found in my compost heap, and my flowers are still unnamed.”

People I Kinda Know I


The first in an open-ended series of prints based on a late night rumination about a dream I had. The dream was populated by people I didn’t recognize but seemed familiar. I was reminded that the human mind stores everything we see - every leaf on a tree, every face we see. We may never consciously access these memories again, but they are there, tucked away in our mental file cabinet. I wonder if the people populating my dreams are a mashup of the various features of all the people I’ve encountered in my life? I decided to interpret my vague visual impressions of these dream people.

“While you’re at it, get me a strawberries & crème frappuccino with a drizzle of chocolate on top please!”

“…Do I look like I have the menu of Starbucks memorized?”

And yet he still reaches around the cabinet, wondering if there’s any of that strawberry milkshake left over from Lena’s stash in the fridge.

I love the head cannon where soldier’s the dad of Overwatch and especially sweet on Hana. Military dad and daughter bond is so adorable.

I must get around to drawing D.Va in her new Hanbok skin soon.


In Trespasser, Sera’s Cabinet of Wonder Whose It Was becomes Sera’s Past and Now Things. This is what her list says if you marry her. I thought it was extremely adorable. 

If you want to read it all together, I typed it into a list. All 553 words of it follows.

Keep reading

   Cabinets of Curiosities, 1666, oil on canvas by Georg Hainz, German, 1639-1688. Hainz was the founder of still life painting in Hamburg and his style was in the Dutch tradition of the 17th century. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany. 

   At the time, it was fashionable to collect natural and artificial items and display them on shelves called “art cabinets.” This one is a type of vanitas still life. These were also known as Wunderkammer or Cabinets of Wonder with their artifacts of natural history, geology, archaeology, history and religion.

The Wonder Cabinet (1999)

This week we’re bringing you another rare and obscure find from the Kim Coates back catalogue. The Wonder Cabinet (1999) is listed on IMDB as a TV movie, but it’s not - it’s actually the pilot for a sci-fi series that was never picked up.

It’s quite hard to see exactly where they’d have gone with it - it falls somewhere between The X-Files and Warehouse 13, with a healthy dollop of medical body-horror. Kim plays the rather fabulously-named Alvin Swissky (two S'es), the mysterious and, let’s be honest, creepy custodian of Die Wunderkammer. This is the eponymous Wonder Cabinet - a collection of grotesqueries and curios, part museum, part freak show. Mutant foetuses, malformed skeletons, a severed cock in a jar - you know, the usual.

Swissky recruits a trio of scientists - dodgy neurosurgeon, traumatised heart expert, maverick med student - to investigate biological anomalies, benefit mankind’s understanding of the world, and add to the collection of weird stuff. Because you can never have too many body parts in formaldehyde.

It’s all very shadowy and inscrutable. Swissky is working for an unnamed benefactor, the whole thing screams “this outfit will be revealed to have sinister motives,” and it’s Kim, so odds are Swissky would have turned out to be the big bad - but we’ll never know.

What does make it rather interesting is the question of what Kim would have done if it had turned into a fully-fledged TV show. Clearly, Swissky was set up to be the guy sending our intrepid doctors out on missions every week, as well as the connection back to the people really in charge. Was this show’s failure to launch what put Kim off becoming a regular in a TV show for so long? Who knows! But we can’t blame him for being wary of TV and the fickle networks for so long. 

Fangirl highlights

  • Highlights are a bit thin on the ground, but we’re quite taken with the goatee-but-no-moustache and glasses look. The only other time we’ve seen that combination is Ferocious 

TTC (Time to Coates): 00:08:09
TTCD (Time to Coates Death): He doesn’t die.

Kim quota rating:

He’s not in it much, and he doesn’t do a huge amount while he’s there, though he is still by far the most memorable character.

Overall rating:

It’s not the sort of abortive pilot that strikes us as a massive missed opportunity. The use of Fatboy Slim in a self-conscious attempt to be modern and cutting edge is endearingly earnest fifteen years on, though.

KC Tropes

Character tropes

  • Geek: Only very mildly, but he creeps around his warehouse full of weird shit and gets enthusiastic about amputated heads.
  • Not Evil: Well, not within the very limited scope of the pilot, anyway, but we have our suspicions.

Death tropes

  • Wait, What? He doesn’t die.

General tropes

  • “And” Credit: Played completely straight.
  • Abominable Accent: Briefly when he pronounces “Die Wunderkammer” in true ‘Allo 'Allo style.
  • Coates Does Something Gross: He geeks out over a newly severed parasitical head. Mmmm.
  • Fashion Victim: The horn-rimmed specs, the bolo tie…an interesting choice. 
  • You Look Familiar: Currie Graham (Assault on Precinct 13).

What should have happened:

Well, it would have been nice if the thing had been picked up, if only to see if Kim would have stuck around.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

We can’t help with this one. We’re not even 100% certain it was ever broadcast.

How did we get hold of it? Crossroads demon.

But because we love to share the Coatesness, here’s a little clip from the show.


Wonder in a cabinet.