Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Valencia Science Museum - within Spitting Distance of the Centre

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I've only been to Valencia twice - over 10 years ago. The last time I was there I visited the recently-built Science Museum, strikingly designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. At that time it seemed to be full of ... empty space, along with the obligatory jet fighter hanging from the ceiling on a piece of string. And a spit machine. 

In  the human body display section there was a spit machine. It explained what saliva was and what it did. The best was yet to come. If you put a paper cup beneath a spout, it gobbed out a dribble of (I hope) synthetic spit.  Either that or there was a salivating Valencian midget sitting in the stainless steel cabinet.  Strangely, there were no bins or instructions for the disposal of your newly-minted goblet of gob. Perhaps this was why the machine displayed liberal, bubbled, crusts of dried saliva. Whether they had been produced by the machine itself, or were the result of contributions selflessly donated by an enthusiastic public, is something upon which I'd prefer not to speculate.

Would you buy a used spit machine
from this man?
The youngest of my children went there again last year. Before she went I told her about the spit machine that she had been too young to appreciate on her first visit. When she arrived, full of great expect(or)ations, she made a beeline for the human body exhibits. Sadly, the spit machine was gone.

Now the still-crusted exhibit is probably gathering dust in  a corner of the museum's storerooms. In the streets of Valencia wanders a jobless, anonymous, salivating midget, evacuating his underemployed excess spittle in the form of pavement oysters. Phlegmatically accepting his fate, this wizened dehydrated homunculus muses on his glory days. Was he paid by the hour or by the litre? Alas, we shall never know.

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Therefore, there is now no real reason to visit the museum at all. It can go back to fulfilling what seems to be its principal use: an impressive backdrop to hundreds of futuristic car adverts. 

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