Tuesday, October 16, 2007

a button can be the stage of your fate...


“there is in the life of a collector a dialectical tension between the poles of disorder and order. naturally his existence is tied to many other things as well… to a relationship to objects which does not emphasize their functional, utilitarian value – that is, their usefulness, but studies and loves them as the scene, the stage, of their fate.”

“to the true collector, the acquisition of an old book is its rebirth”.

“every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories… for what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order”

“one has only to watch a collector handle the objects in his glass case. as he holds them in his hands, he seems to be seeing through them, into their past as though inspired.”

“ownership is the most intimate relationship one can have with objects. not that they come alive in him, but it is he who lives in them.”

walter benjamin, illuminations

(of course, the old photo above is not walter benjamin, but one of my favorite snapshots in the archive, of john clark and his collection of 22,000 buttons...in terms of the photo, the notion that the strand of buttons is running from the inside of the storfront window to his shoulder outside, like a long hideous snake, is mind bending...)

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