Collecting, writing, memory, objects, collaboration

Museum collections can appear static, with the artefacts seeming untouchable, perpetuating a cultural and historical tradition which excludes alternative perspectives, voices and cultures. In the early 1990's Walsall Museums developed The People's Show, an example of a museum of popular culture. The show generated a great deal of interest and captured the public imagination. The essential difference generated by The Peoples' Show was the central focus on the museum community.

The motivations behind the particular objects our guests brought to the tea- parties to the museum were varied. In a number of instances it was memories attached to objects related to childhood experiences or that of growing children. Some were inherited objects passed down through generations, or gifts with special meaning and attachment in the here and now. None of our guests alluded to the act of collecting, however one of our interests was to gather memories, bringing objects and voices together in a temporary live performative installion.

During the residency we worked with poet, Esther Morgan, who became a valued collaborator at the WI tea party and The White Elephant Stall, click here to read some of her poetry stimulated by her interest in memory and notions of home during the residency.

Collections, collecting and collectors

We collect in secret, collect in public, in mass, in genres, in species, specimens, terms, types, genres, we collect objects, information, data, knowledge, documents, books, stories, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, we collect treasure, things that shine, trinkets, trifles, we collect, houses, land, spaces, decoration, designs, we collect history, lovers, sexual encounters, friends, animals, we collect cheap holidays, expeditions, times gone by, weddings and funerals, we collect cheap and cheerful, highly marketable and priceless, we collect the cuddly, things to sit on , things to wear, to lie on, drive in, look through, navigate and steer, we collect, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, nets that catch them, fishing rods, fish and flys, We collect, bird names, car names, train names, girls names, boys names, telephone numbers, addresses, earrings, bracelets necklaces, tie pins, cufflinks, stars, eclipses, wind , we collect encounters with tornados, lightning strikes and hurricanes....

Reasons for collecting leisure aesthetics competition risk fantasy as sense of community prestige domination sensual gratification sexual foreplay desire to reframe objects the pleasing rhythm of sameness and difference ambition to achive perfection extending the self reaffirming the body producing gender identity achieving mortality S.M Pearce, Museums, Objects and Collections: Cultural Study (Leicester and London 1992)

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