Froger’s Capybara and the Metaphysics of Memes - Blog – The Appendix
In one of the first Appendix blog posts, I reflected on the ways that the internet decontextualized images and information, and argued that this bears a resemblance to the early modern European “curiosity cabinet” aesthetic, which jumbled together things like Sri Lankan gems, Inuit carvings, taxidermied animals and Andean bezoar stones. These collections inspired wonder in the viewer via their visual variety, largely ignoring the internal narratives of the objects they contained. (…)
It occurred to me that the tale of Froger’s capybara — an engraving from a 1698 book of voyages to Africa and Brazil written when the author was just twenty-two years old — is a good case study of this process.