On our second CTS session we were asked to bring an object. I brought an old Russian doll that used to belong to my grandma and that I have had for as long as I can remember. This, I discovered later, was not a very good idea, because I ended up dropping it and creating a huge crack down the side of it (good thing superglue exists). But that is another story for another time.
We were split up into groups and we gathered our objects on each of our tables. As an introduction to the task we read this quote by John Berger:
“Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and in this hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.”
We then had to look at our objects and try and figure out as many things as we could about them. Where does it come from? What does it represent? Is it masculine or feminine? Is it art or an artefact? What emotions does it convey? What personality traits can I give it? etc
We then had to set our objects up as an exhibition and think about how we would catalogue them, in which order and why. We were looking at Susan Pearce’s text ‘Collection as medium and message’ whilst doing this and trying to find a direct quote that would explain our reasoning. This is what our group came up with.
We were exploring tensions between ‘traditional social notions about what constitute ‘proper’ or ‘valuable’ or ‘prestigious’ material collections’ and objects that are collected through the ‘obscure but compelling movements in each individual’s hearts and mind’.
We organised our objects so that they went from modern and ‘obscure’ to more traditional and ‘valuable’.