Meanwhile … at the same time

September 27, 2016

img_20160901_153202 I’m sure you’ve looked at an exhibit somewhere and thought, “Hmm, if I remember my history lessons right, around this time, this war was happening in X country.” Or if you’re like me, “I wish I could remember anything at all from my boring history lessons. I wonder what was happening in India and China and the Ottoman empire when this painter was capturing this!”

Well, sometimes museums are kind, they help out. And at the Vasamuseet in Stockholm, the curators have been very kind indeed. Their multimedia exhibit, on until October 5, is probably the very best I’ve ever seen because it makes a moment in history accessible across geography and across time in a way I’ve never seen it. There are videos and texts from 14 civilizations that were flourishing around 1688 when the Vasa ship went down. Manhattan had been bought; the Taj Mahal was being built; and seeing these things in concert was enthralling. If you’re in Stockholm, it’s a must go.

(In Lisbon’s Monasteiro dos Jerónimos, an exhibit attempts to show you what was happening around the world at the same time on a text carousel, but it’s overwhelming and … dare I say it? boring.)

Sorry for the terribly amateur video but it’s what I could manage:

Bonus points for spotting Nur Jahan


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