Sunday, June 01, 2008

"Collections of Nothing"

William Davies King, a professor of theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara, "has spent his life gathering a monumental mass of miscellany, and in a new book published this week he takes a hard look at his habitual hoarding to see what truths it might reveal about the impulse to accumulate," according to a press release sent out by the university.

It goes on to say, "Part memoir, part reflection on the mania of acquisition, 'Collections of Nothing' (University of Chicago Press, 2008) begins with the stamp collection King received when he was a child. However, the long-standing philately rules regarding the care and display of postage stamp collections quickly became an oppressive burden."

So he chose instead to handle––and mangle––the stamps according to his own desires.

This proved to be the first step in his search for an unexplored, individual meaning in collecting. In the following years, he ignored rarity or pedigree and found himself searching out the lowly and the lost, the cast-off and the undesired; objects that, merely by gathering and retaining, he could imbue with meaning and even value.

To read the entire release, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM