“The banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, the background noise, the habitual, […] How are we to speak of these common things, how to track them down, how to flush them out, wrest them from the dross in which they are mired, how to give them meaning, a tongue, to let them, finally, speak of what it is, who we are.”
-Georges Perec, Species of Spaces, 1974
Georges Perec (French: [peʁɛk, pɛʁɛk]; 7 March 1936 – 3 March 1982) was a French novelist, filmmaker, documentalist, and essayist. He was a member of the Oulipo group. His father died as a soldier early in the Second World War and his mother was murdered in the Holocaust, and many of his works deal with absence, loss, and identity, often through word play.
From Georges Perec, An Attempt at an Inventory of the Liquid and the Solid Foodstuffs Ingurgitated by Me in the Course of the Year Nineteen Hundred Seventy Four.
On Kawara (河原 温 Kawara On, December 24, 1932 – July 10, 2014) was a Japanese conceptual artist who lived in New York City from 1965. Kawara belonged to a broadly international generation of Conceptual artists that began to emerge in the mid-1960s, stripping art of personal emotion, reducing it to nearly pure information or idea and greatly playing down the art object. Along with Lawrence Weiner, Joseph Kosuth, Hanne Darboven and others, Kawara gave special prominence to language.
“Ed Ruscha: produced bookworks documenting L.A’s architectural landscape. Including ’ Every Building on the Sunset Strip’, ’Twentysix Gasoline Stations’, and ‘Parking Lots (aerial views)’. Ruscha continued to publish similar books, filled with photographs depicting commonplace items or locations that commented on the sterility and anonymity of the Los Angeles landscape. These works are now considered pivotal in the history of the contemporary artist’s book.”
“Gregory Blackstock:”Seattle-based artist Gregory Blackstock is an autistic savant who, after retiring from a lifetime as a pot washer at the age of 58, created obsessive, meticulous drawings he’d been making over 18 years of after-hours…his astounding visual lists of everything from hats to owl varieties, made with a pencil, a black marker, some crayons, and superhuman attention to detail.” from Brainpickings.org.
“His remarkable memory serves Blackstock well as he renders images on paper with paper, markers, and crayons. I commented on how many tiny differences there were in the teeth from one saw blade to the next in his piece The Saws. He replied, in a somewhat frustrated tone, that it took him two visits to Home Depot to memorize them all.” From Karen Light-Piña’s book: Blackstock’s Collections.
“Tom Friedman (b. 1965, Saint Louis, MO) makes extraordinary work that explores ideas of perception, logic, and possibility. His often painstakingly rendered sculptures and works on paper inhabit the grey areas between the ordinary and the monstrous, the infinitesimal and the infinite, the rational and the uncanny. His work is often deceptive, its handmade intricacy masked by a seemingly mass-produced or prefabricated appearance. Friedman’s deadpan presentation implies content and form are seamless; expectations are overturned as the viewer slowly perceives that chasm between illusion and reality.” From luhringaugustine.com
“What did you buy today? When artist and illustrator Kate Bingaman-Burt asked herself that question, the result was 2,922 drawings, made over the course of eight years. Books, gallery shows, and major media coverage ensued, all infused with her playful and startling take on brands and consumer objects. The things we buy, the things we discard, and the community interaction that cycles of consumption can inspire. It encourages people—starting with the artist herself—to be more mindful of what they buy. Every day for eight years, she made a drawing of something she purchased: a pumpkin spice latte, two pears, or “incredible cactus: $18.” From liquidagency.com
Gather: Balloons, 2007 – 2009
This work is an archive of digitally scanned clusters of decaying balloons found on the beaches of Toronto Island. These tokens are witness to celebrations, social gatherings of families and friends. The images are a symbol marking life’s passages that now remain as memory. What remains in the landscape are the sand-encrusted fragments of balloons, ribbons and other debris: the forgotten detritus of social occasions now reborn in the digital world. This work also references the ways in which botanical specimens and social artifacts are collected and documented. Gather is a contemporary take on the Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities. From http://aprilhickox.com/
“The Museum of Found Objects: Toronto (Maharaja and–) is an archive of everyday objects sourced from the Greater Toronto Area’s South Asian neighbourhoods. It is also a response to the AGO exhibition Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, and aims to make connections between the lavish historic objects of Maharaja and more ordinary, present-day items.”
Toronto-based artist Sameer Farooq and his Paris, France-based collaborator Mirjam Linschooten apply the typical functions of a museum – collecting, preparing, interpreting and displaying – to a selection of objects collected from neighbourhoods in Brampton, Mississauga, Scarborough and Milton. By introducing non-precious, surprising and mundane objects into a place of importance, their work challenges the ways in which museums typically portray “culture.” From ago.net
“How, then, do museums manipulate notions of cultural pride and nostalgia in outreaching to culturally marginalised communities? Can museums go beyond the tokenisms of multiculturalism?
19. And how are “westernised” South Asians — anxious to find a sense of belonging in their adopted countries — complicit in promoting an essentialised view of culture and history?
The Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Chevalier Jackson Collection
Everything in my Father’s wallet / Everything in my wallet : Sara Angelucci
Approximately 96 (10 x 10 inches), 2 (15 x 15 inches) colour photographs
Everything in my father’s wallet …developed from the discovery of my father’s wallet in a box of family memorabilia, ten years after his passing. The wallet emerged intact, as if it had just been removed from his pocket. In examining its contents, (55 items including driver’s license, old photographs, heart medication prescription, etc.) I became fascinated by how these items built a portrait of this man – an immigrant, labourer, father, husband, hunter…etc.
Indeed, I began to wonder what the contents of my wallet would reveal about me. By bringing the contents of the two wallets together the work not only builds two portraits, or suggests clues of a father/daughter relationship, but themes which go beyond the individual owners emerge. For example, my father’s wallet contained a Steel Worker’s of America Union Card, while mine contained a University Alumni Card, my father’s a hunting license and a note permitting him to hunt on private property, while mine contained cinema, gallery and library memberships. These items not only point to activity, but to ways of living. Presented in two grids of approximately 50 photographs each, the relationship between the two raises notions of generational differences, gender differences, and a class/cultural shift resulting from my father’s immigration and lack of formal education, while I was born, educated and raised in Canada. (From http://sara-angelucci.ca/Everything-in-my-Father-s-Wallet2005)
Chevalier Jackson Collection
Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadephia
Chevalier Jackson, MD (1865-1958), was a renowned Philadelphia otolaryngologist and Fellow of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He developed methods and tools for removing foreign objects from human airways. The Jackson Collection includes 2,374 inhaled or swallowed foreign bodies that Dr. Jackson extracted from patients’ throats, esophaguses, and lungs during his almost 75-year-long career. Most of the items are on display.
Dr. Jackson kept careful records of each object he removed from a patient because he thought this information would be useful to other doctors. Broncho-esophagology was still in its early stages, and the Jackson Collection was a way for others to learn what to expect when performing a bronchoscopy. Doctors with similar cases could consult Dr. Jackson’s records for the best way to remove a potentially deadly foreign body. His notes included the age and sex of the patient, the type of foreign body, where it was lodged, if anesthesia was used, and how long it took to extract the object. More than 80% of the patients on record were under 15 years old.
The Jackson Collection includes 2,374 inhaled or swallowed foreign bodies that Dr. Jackson removed from patients’ throats, esophaguses, and lungs.
Objects are housed in drawers. Objects extracted from patients include buttons, pins, nuts, coins, bones, screws, dentures and bridges, small toys, among many other items. From http://muttermuseum.org/exhibitions/chevalier-jackson-collection/