Alfred Jarry 1873-1907, the absurdist French playwright, sought to undermine societal conventions and complacencies by employing creative constructs to reframe the conventional. To give an example, his 'MONSTRES' segment for L'Ymagier magazine, challenged Darwinian notions which were controversial and highly debated at the time. His monsters were woodcuttings of hybrid creatures; completely unrelated species which he morphed together, accompanied by satyrical text, thus challenging the idea of 'the missing link'. Having explored Albertopian archives on a broad scale, I honed in on the Natural History Museum, to the human remains archive; a re-appropriated WW2 bunker. The Keeper of Human Remains, Dr. Margarett Clegg, shed light on the very didactic role of this archive to serve as a research hub to hundreds of academics from across the world each year. Laboratories within the bunker allow for these researchers to examine the specimens under specialist conditions. However there is a duality to these specimens as they transpire to Museum level as exhibit from time to time, encased within glass vitrines, assuming matter-of-factness. With this new insight into the didactic nature of museum archiving, I wondered whether these regimented, institutionalised systems were ever undermined and challenged. Uncovering all manner of hoaxes which were exposed over the years, in particular from the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, it revealed a side to these institutes which is often denied instead of celebrated. These hoaxes range from the bricolage of unrelated bones, aspiring to 'the missing link', to scientific theories and machines which don't hold true to their claims. The site located in between these two institutes, whose current function is a loading bay with a through road connecting Exhibition road to Queens Gate road, presents an interesting opportunity for an archive of hoaxes. With an anti institutionalised means of categorisation, similar to Borges' Chinese encyclopaedia, these artefacts would read in a new way entirely in this designed space, where man and machine would be presented alongside each other, according to the classificatory stipulation. Starting from my Museum of Misclassification, a micro museum for the creation of fictitious creatures, with imagined skin and bone configuration, I proceeded to look to the Gothic cathedral as the most naive expression of the anatomical analogy. Using St. Stefen's Cathedral, Vienna, as the precedent Gothic cathedral, I dissected its bones and skin so to speak, the skin being the tiled, scaly roof, and the vaults and tiercerons being the rib-like bones. Riffing off of the rationale of this gothic language, I explored different design possibilities for the archive of hoaxes; the missing link between the two institutes in proposing a dialogue between fact and fiction and between man and machine. The entrance to the Natural History Museum, in plan as is, is the imprint of a gothic cathedral known as the 'Temple of Nature' and the building itself is a hybrid of gothic and romanesque. This new archive would present an otherworldly space; an organic embodiment, showcasing the institutes' non-pedagogical fallout.

Skeleton Archive

A reappropriated WW2 bunker located underneath the Natural History Museum. It is currently the Human Remains archive, housing 20,000 skeletons.

Negative of 'Piltdown Man' hoax

The Natural History museum's most famous hoax

Museum of Misclassification

A cabinet for the creation and archival of chimera creatures - imagining bone configuration and skin

Taxonomy of bones from Museum of Misclassification

The remnant bones of dinner

Chimera creature composed from taxonomy of bones

Drawing from the taxonomy, unrelated bones can be forged together to create fictional creatures. A play in scale feeds the fiction.

Skin - tiled membrane as potential roofing material

Angling the tiled membrane on a grid of tapering poles to test its behaviour.

Transparent tiling on translucent membrane

Accounting for light penetration

Aerial view of the Archive of hoaxes

The tiled canopy sits in the space between the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Its current use is a loading bay with a through road connecting Exhibition Road to Queen's Gate Road.

The Archive of Hoaxes

Endoskeleton of the building set against the historical backdrop of the Natural History Museum.

Inside the belly of the beast

A shelving system interlocking the rib cage displays the hoaxes. Several glass cabinets are embedded within the shelves also showcasing larger, more prominent hoaxes.