In which I visit a most magical bus.

Last Saturday I wandered around the grounds of Traquair House, soaking up the magical atmosphere of Traquair Fair, sipping tea in a yurt and visiting a Cabinet of Wonders inside a Tardis-like van. This was the very odd and enigmatic Kabinett Fatalia, the creation of two German artists from Dresden, who tour their Kabinett-on-wheels around various festivals in the UK and Europe. You step into the back of the van/Kabinett and enter a world that has nothing to do with transport in the usual sense, unless your destination is a slightly off-kilter hall of mirrors/freak show. The video below, of Fatalia’s 2007 Kabinett, will give you a sense of its strange perceptions.

A Cabinet of Wonders, or Curiosities, has roots in the Renaissance. The kings and princes of the great houses of Europe made it their business to collect a wide and eccentric range of objects for their cabinets, special chambers that housed their collections. Certain kings are well known for their collections of what the Germans translated as Wunderkammers or Kunstkammers (Art Cabinets). My favourite is the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, Rudolf II – here’s something about his collection.

The digital world has made it possible for people to create all sorts of online collections of objects and oddities. I particularly like this site, as well as Fed by Birds and Curious Expeditions.