Cultures of Collecting (Reaktion Books - Critical Views) by John Elsner, Roger Cardinal

By John Elsner, Roger Cardinal

This ebook strains the psychology, heritage and thought of the compulsion to gather, focusing not only at the normative collections of the Western canon, but additionally on collections that mirror a fascination with the "Other" and the marginal – the ephemeral, unique, or simply undeniable curious.

There are essays at the Neoclassical architect Sir John Soane, Sigmund Freud and Kurt Schwitters, one of many masters of college. Others research imperialist encounters with distant cultures – the conquistadors in the United States within the 16th century, and the British within the Pacific within the eighteenth – and the newer creditors of pop culture, be they of Swatch watches, Elvis Presley memorabilia or of packaging and advertising.

With essays by means of Jean Baudrillard, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Nicholas Thomas, Mieke Bal, John Forrester, John Windsor, Naomi Schor, Susan Stewart, Anthony Alan Shelton, John Elsner, Roger Cardinal and an interview with Robert Opie.

About the Authors
Roger Cardinal is Professor of Literary and visible reports on the college of Kent at Canterbury. John Elsner is Lecturer on the Courtauld Institute of Art.

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Sample text

Unless you do these crazy things, you don't start to understand. Sending a man to the moon may have been perceived as the most stupid thing imaginable but think of all the benefits of that technological leap. In a way, you have to be crazy to take that first step. But you obviously don't perceive yourself as crazy. I try not to, but I might tell you a story which would make me seem crazy. If a television presenter did an interview and wanted to make me look crazy, it would be very, very easy. They could just isolate those things which made me sound crazy, photograph those things which make me look crazy.

Is a pack of playing-cards 52 items or one? Are a thousand duplicates a thousand items or one? This bottle, for instance. Does it ever occur to you to just go for the label on the bottle? No. My whole philosophy is completeness. If you can give me a crate of lime-juice bottles, I'd be only too delighted to have the whole crate as it was delivered to the shop. Because inside the crate there probably would have been an advertisement as well. The next best thing is a full bottle with its label, its foil cap, everything.

I'm intrigued that you move between the materials and the size of the objects. These things are made up as you go along. You have to make things up for two reasons. The first is because you don't know how much there is. If I'd known how much stuff I'd be able to save I wouldn't have started this system. You begin thinking 'Well here are a thousand objects and here is a system to cope with a thousand objects'. ' With my collection of Oxo items, I will have one box for Oxo tins, one for paper Oxo containers and one for playing-cards and ancillary items.

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