At some point we’ve all been there, noticing the accumulation of a number of similar items and wondering ‘is this enough to be a collection yet?’ After this realisation, there is one of two ways to go: 1) become dedicated to the cause or 2) to realise the dangerous ground being tread upon, resolving to limit the acquisition of anymore similar items.
Through living in a society that has taught us the mantra, ‘knowledge is power’ it seems that acquiring ‘stuff’ is supported by this fact. Proposed library closures have created a powerful furore amongst British citizens, with activists boycotting local library services, and creating their own ad-hoc local libraries in redundant phone boxes.
‘CD tower’ by Claire Titley, copyright Flickr, Soap Collection c/o Another Magazine copyright unknown
Initially the formalised process of collecting responsibly helped create and document our own history, with zoologists travelling the world looking for evidence of the past and Roman and Egyptian historical figures compiling our first libraries.
Souvenirs, nostalgic symbols of the past take up space in our shoe boxes, drawers of miscellaneous items, handbags and even pockets. Visually, collections are a feast for the eyes, with concentrated amount of detail and colour holding aesthetic allure. Nostalgic ephemera holds such evocative power that it naturally collects up, until enough is enough and boxes of memories are filtered down.
The trouble with collecting is space. Our lives are cluttered and are busier than ever with more working hours, social commitments and other duties being prioritised. So for those with larger collections factoring space, logistical organisation and ultimately, a rental premium for the keeping of a said collection are increasing anchoring factors.
Another consideration, post collection digitisation (for example, records being converted to Mp3 via USB connections, CD’s being burnt, found pictures being scanned etc.) what will be the end-point for these material objects? In our love, nurturing and dedication to our collections, will the medium collection of Nike trainers end up in a library, or inevitably, much to our guilt end up in a landfill?
Kish’s trainer collection, copyright Patricia Niven
For now, we’ll keep on going, with some of the keener PDD collections of choice being Bakelite egg cups, X-Files collectors cards, classic design chairs (even in storage!) and coins.