I began the clean out and reordering of my studio last week. I am not generally inclined, preoccupied or obsessed with tidiness and order. (that gene occurs in my family but it by passed me) In fact i often find it difficult to work out systems to store things (creating categories for this blog might be tricky), I often begin by classifying and creating categories in terms of colour, size or material,only to find i get caught out with sub groupings that over lap or confounded by the undeterminable thingness of a thing. The things that i decided to discard were the by-product of stuff I collect when walking, a process of collection I call surface archeology.
Walking isn’t a simple process of getting from A to B, for me it involves observing and picking detritus as i go. I don’t know why I’m inclined to pick up stuff when I walk, it feels instinctual something I don’t think about too much I just do it, although there are times I wish I didn’t have such a compulsion.
I’ve thought it might be hereditary, I know my Nana did it and I now witness my children doing it. It’s not like I am driven by a moral impetus to pick up litter or that I lead an impoverished life, it’s more like a genetic quirk, perhaps a remnant link to a hunter gathering past.
Sometimes my collections are led by the materials i find (which can add a seasonality factor) at other times I might require a certain item/product for a piece I’m working on (this encourages an alternate form of local knowledge). I think Surface Archeology process is driven by a fascination with matter that marks something of presence and time. From a resource more generally viewed as disposable or of little cultural significance I find a potent materiality that retains something of the background noise of history and experience.
So as i cleaned out this ‘noise’ from my studio I started to create a list of some of the features of experience i had collected (in no particular order).
Aluminium ring pulls
Steel ring pulls
Fragments of tennis balls (pale blues, subtle greens, blacks/grey I loved collecting these in the years of drought)
Felt skins of tennis balls (these take the shape of a filled number eight. Loved them, hard to find in one piece though – dogs!!)
-Golf Balls (whole and fragments)
-Footballs (leather, synthetic, & inner tubes)
-Paint tin lids (I love, love, loved these. Covered in paint, run over and rusted)
-Tin lids (various shapes and sizes)
-Rusted tin lids (hard to find them just as i liked – distressed white paint coating, dented and slightly rusted.) i associate rusted tin lids with landscapes(?)
-Crushed tins (and rusted, beautiful. almost kept them)
-Number Plates (I have found these over the years down at the creek, I may have to discreetly dispose of them!)
-Truck Mud Flaps (Beautiful when they are perished and worn)
-Street Parking Signs (red and green, although i liked them when they had faded and battered)
-Synthetic Silk Flower fragments (we live near a cemetery, these are beautifully worn and i kept them)
-Thongs/Jandals (I had some great ones of these, perished/worn, great colours)
-Perished Rubber (mixed items)
-Car Panels(only two – one plastic, one steel)
-Ice Bloke sticks
-Bottle caps (crushed, rusted, or unharmed)
and numerous bits of plastic but i’ve kept most of these…
Viewing my collection as a list i am slightly concerned that i might be bit mad, but my concern is lessoned by ease in which I let it all go! Go where you might wonder? Well just in case you are concerned, i recycled what i could and the rest of it went it the bin, which is perhaps where it should have gone in the very first place!!