mastered by collection

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I’m really interested in Baudrillard’s quote of Maurice Rheims: ” The taste for collection is a kind of passionate game….

For children, collecting is a rudimentary way of mastering the outside world, of arranging, classifying and manipulating.”

In a way, we can regard our wardrobes as a personal collection of clothing and with the content, it is how we master our images, roles in the society and so on. Baudrillard then also points out the connection between collating, storing and “

regression to the anal stage, which is characterized byaccumulation, orderliness, aggressive retention, and so on.”

I would like to share an extreme example of my own experience. One of my sister really has a problem of getting rid of objects. Her belongings occupies all the possible space in her room and then eventually living room and all the space I shared with her. There was one time I really could not stand it and force her to clean her wardrobe. We literally went through her closet one piece by one piece , cutting down the count from over 1000 to 600 pieces. The process involved a lot of nerve-breakdown, crying and shouting and I found a lot of pieces from her childhood (including her elementary school uniform), and each of them, according to her, had a sentimental attachment so that she could not dispose them.

600 hundred pieces. I doubt anyone can put them on all in a year. I believe before I went through the closet with her, there must have been I lot of clothes she did not even remember she has. This complex of possessing, owning objects is really starting to jeopardize my sister’s life, her relationship with her family and eventually her mental.

I can easily find more examples like my sister (actually there are a lot of museums formed this way. Some crazy collectors had too much objects so their entire family had to move out the house which then became museums). I wonder how collecting become from “mastering the outside world” into the opposite way in which collectors are manipulated by their collections.

FYI I like Siki Im’s design.

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2 responses to “mastered by collection

  1. I quite like this quote too, ” The taste for collection is a kind of passionate game….”
    I feel the passion is very important to support people to doing whatever jobs, or other things. If you want to do some enjoyable, you need passion, otherwise, the process of it will be a punishment. And passion is the key energy to support you to continue the work and to solve the problems and also to go deeper and deeper. Once you lost the passion, that somehow means it ends. And for collection, why you clooct those things? For somehow reasons? You like them, you precious them, you want to see them. That is the passion to force you continue collecting. Like me, I also love collecting, collecting stickers and beautiful papers. I even keep the stickers from 20 years ago. And if I have a big storage room, I will probably collecting beautiful clothes too.

  2. Alex, you pose a fascinating question: “I wonder how collecting become from “mastering the outside world” into the opposite way in which collectors are manipulated by their collections.” How do you think these objects begin to own us, overwhelm us? How does this function with your sister. I think of spending, storage, attachment. I wonder what you have seen throughout the collecting process.

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