In Search of Lost Time

I love a good diorama. Actually, I love the bad ones too. They talk to me, not about the setting or subject, but about time. There is something so odd and comforting as the Neanderthals, elephants, or honey badger stand frozen in time and space. It’s as if they are trapped in a time-dilation event behind the window. In their world, time moves normally, but for us they stand motionless. Then there is the subtext of death. These animals are no longer alive. The Neanderthals, Paiute Indians, and early settlers are artificial. They have glassy eyes and forever engaged intently on the task at hand. The Mise-en-scène represented to us is not a static grouping of animals or people. The diorama attempts to convince us that this is reality. This is the magic of narrative. As human beings, we immediately construct the story and imagine ourselves on the never changing hot African veldt, damp Amazonian jungle, or Ice Age tundra.