Picking up the Pieces

Loneliness is a desire for closeness, for joining up, joining in, joining together, for gathering what has otherwise been sundered, abandoned, broken or left in isolation. Loneliness is a longing for integration, for a sense of feeling whole.”

Olivia Laing


As summer quickly winds down to a close, so too does my time within my temporary studio. When I first approached this summer-long project, I knew full well that whatever artwork that I ended up producing would not be able to be kept due to lack of storage space outside of my studio. However, tossing out all of the items that I had acquired over the last three months was simply out of the question. So this posed a unique quandary for me; how can I preserve all of these items?


I began thinking of the different methods in which items are preserved for the sake of collecting; methods such as vacuum bags, protective cases, and storage boxes. Wanting to implement similar methods of preservation for my more unconventional items, I began taking samples of each and every object that I had acquired; using a pair of sheers to snip off small fragments. I then took these fragments, roughly 1”x1” in scale each, and placed them within individual 2”x3” vacuum sealed bags. Since this act of fragmentation had reduced the items to a miniature sample of their former selves, I developed a special code for each item in order to prevent future confusion. Each code can then be traced to a respective spreadsheet documenting unique aspects that the object originally had. For an example, a small red fragment with the code UP234 tells me that it was a “U” unused, “P” plastic item, and it is the “234” item in that series. When I look up UP234 on the spreadsheet, it indicates that it was a toy fire truck, roughly 3”x5” in scale, and it was red.

Reflecting back on my blog post regarding control, and the destruction of the object in the name of preservation, I realized that what I was trying to accomplish by way of fragmentation was exactly what Philipp Blom had hinted at in his book To Have and To Hold. My desire to preserve was falling in line with the nature of the collector. The objects were falling prey to my will; not the other way around. By way of fragmentation, the objects lose their original identity; their life. No longer was the toy fire truck a toy fire truck, but instead it had become UP234. It, along with hundreds of other items, had become a code; a code created by the collector, i.e. I, in my attempt to preserve my own preconceived memories that I had implanted on them. Fragmentation had killed the objects, yet at the same time preserved them for however long I choose. In the end, this act is all about my need to CONTROL. Now where my desire for control originates from, it is hard to say. Perhaps it is rooted within in my childhood; such as my longing for collecting Pokemon Cards. However, what I can tell you is that I have stumbled upon something of great interest to me, and I am excited to further explore this upon returning to campus.

One thought on “Picking up the Pieces

  1. Matthew, I am very impressed with your progress this summer. You truly have surpassed milestones and are getting to the true nature of your art creation. I am looking forward to learning more as you enter your fall semester and I am interested in having conversations about collection in the age of online/cloud storage.

    Liked by 1 person

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