Things: a breathing space

18 October 2010

 a heart made with red plastic and has a cut (originally contained message)

The gallery is closed. There are no queues, the white-gloved registrars, photographers and uploaders are taking the break they deserve, and the objects we have selected and collected sit on the shelves, alone, unregarded. Our Things are taking a breather.

And there are quite a lot of them. As you can see from the Calendar of things, we’ve acquired an extraordinary number of things in a very short time. From mass-manufactured objects to hand-made creations, and the remnants of other people’s collections, what holds everything together is the meanings attached to them by their owners. Even everyday ephemera like a pair of train tickets can have quite intensely personal resonance. Every meaning is unique, but what are the odds of acquiring two stuffed and mounted foxes’ heads, next to each other on 27 and 28 August?

Some people have taken their stories and objects back online. The author of the London is Cool blog expands on the story of the lucky egg cup which has become unlucky; you can find it on the shelves at 13 July.

Heather Barnett has also been busy talking to the people who have left us things about the objects and what they mean to them. A fewstories slipped out on this blog over the weekend; there are many more to come. And not only words but images too; you’ll see more from this photoset of intriguing photographs of donated objects.

It seems that other artists also have the urge to engage with museums’ systems of classification and arrangement. While this blog was in the hands of the Things project team last week (who will resume with gusto tomorrow), your usual blogger was taking a well-earned birthday break in Berlin, and chanced across Mark Dion’s WeltWissen installation at the Martin-Gropius-Bau. Though some of the objects in Dion’s  installation were definitely bigger than my head, sadly, there were no empty boxes left in the grid for me to add my own.

You, however, still have one last chance to add your thing. The doors will reopen tomorrow, the gallery team will be on duty, and the desk will be ready to accept your strange, sad, ugly-beautiful, odd, unique, meaningful things.