HOOKED 0N FISH
New permanent Fish Gallery at the 1 Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Museum exhibitions used to be dreary, cluttered affairs that kept the bewildered layman at arm’s length. Happily, curator Geoff Swinney is as fascinated by fish as he is keen to proselytise. With floor-space and boredom thresholds in mind, Swinney and his team have assembled 100 species (from a possible 20,000) as an introduction to the biological and behavioural permutations of the fish world. The end product is a lively and absorbing exhibition.
For a start, the displays are engaging to the eye. Moulds were cast from dead : specimens and then painstakingly worked up with rubber and other materials to create alarmingly
showcases flooded with shimmering light, the fish are freeze-framed not in bland, straight-backed rows but
actually spawning, feeding and
hunting. Even punters who skip by the short, jargon-free texts will walk away with a vivid picture of life underwater.
It is difficult, however, not to loiter longerthan planned. Short videos, a hands-on quiz and even the scratch 'n’ sniff shark skin are just too tempting to breeze by. There is bound to be something that will prick your curiosity. if it is not the slow-motion footage of flying fish gliding effortlessly above the waves it might be the recording of the motorcycle-like sounds emitted by the male haddock during mating.
Or it might be the sharks. Why does the
scientific consultant for the film Jaws now have second thoughts about his part in the scaremongering? In straightforward language, an animated computer database explains away the conventional perception of sharks as
i wanton manhunters. , authentic replicas. Suspended in glass
At some point in the exhibition, perhaps in that section exploring the role of fish in the human experience, memories of school biology teachers will come flooding back and with them a haunting question: Why did we wait for the 803 to invent the notion of user-friendly? (Carl Honoré)
Guy Taplin's Ten Curlews made from carved driftwood at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
To dojustice to our wide range of Mexican tiles and wash basins, to which we have added a unique range of rustic Mexican
furniture, we have recently opened extensive showrooms at 5 the Grassmarket tel. 229 9368.
At 16 Victoria Street tel. 031 2.26 6695 you will ﬁnd an even wider range of jewellery, clothes and small items from Latin America.
Azteca - 15 years direct trade with dozens of family workshops in Latin America.
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