‘oscillate between extraordinary […] and the ordinary’

In Edinburgh, Interesting things, Rambling on November 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Mark Dion talk was really lovely, it fitted so well with what I’m doing at the moment which is perhaps the main reason. (But still, can we just take a moment to go ‘ahh I was in the same room as Mark Dion’? Yeah, okay). Quotes and snippets then some rambling.

Pre-talk overheard things:

  • ‘If you go to Saint Margaret’s you have to go somewhere else as well’
  • ‘That’s where Andy had his exhibition…’
  • ‘He’s not doing it the way I thought he would.’
  • ‘absolutely compulsive’
  • ‘like a magpie, you know.’
  • ‘if I was younger and had the money…’
  • ‘disgraceful to be honest’
  • ‘not very on top of things’
  • ‘you’re coming on your own aren’t you? You’re gonna have some fun…’
  • ‘it’s cheap as chips’
  • ‘these places all over the place’
  • ‘German efficiency’
  • ‘hotel with no drawers’
  • ‘all we did on Friday was fill out a bloody form.’
  • ‘are you on the list?’
  • ‘there’s going to be several spouses wandering round on their own.’
  • ‘it’s all rubbish’

And snippets… So much niceness. Perhaps because it all got written in my super nice Moleskine sketchbook that’s only saved for special occasions but I got all excited and wanted to make stuff again. Which is good! (But instead of making stuff I’m sat here writing about wanting to make stuff, which isn’t quite as good, but needs to be done).

  • ‘promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas’
  • ‘our relationship with nature is always mediated by language and culture’
  • ‘plays the role of the naturalist’
  • ‘knowledge and poetry are not in conflict’
  • ‘the cradle of science’
  • ‘the death rattle of the magic tradition’
  • ‘world in a box’
  • ‘objects radiate out’
  • ‘a lot of crawling through attics’
  • ‘things that hadn’t been seen as having value or worth collecting, but someone hadn’t thrown them away…’
  • ‘this museum makes the National Museum here look like a Tesco’
  • ‘a floating laboratory’
  • ‘a temple to the sea’
  • ‘the best art and science had to offer’
  • ‘absurdly wealthy people’
  • ‘a museum of a museum’
  • ‘my obsession is always “how do you turn a museum inside out?”‘
  • ‘very focused on a cellular and molecular level’
  • ‘finding things the university didn’t know they had’
  • ‘as soon as you discover them they become impossibly valuable’
  • ‘200 years of sometimes misery…’
  • ‘an intelligent interrogation’
  • ‘simple, but agile…’
  • ‘objects that are like those objects but not those objects’
  • ‘things that bear enormous weight’
  • ‘all we have is the description “red stick”‘
  • ‘oscillate between the extraordinary […] and the ordinary’
  • ‘quite close, quite intimate, with a number of the objects’
  • ‘gains knowledge through an encounter with a thing’

Rambling, ehm. I think I have some vague idea for what to show for the exhibition thing we’re actually going to plan this time. Which is strange, because I think it’ll actually look like an art-thing instead of a thing. It involves going to get a plinth and perspex box made up, but I should be able to do that this week and it’ll be done in time (I mean, it’s three weeks away or so…surely that’s enough time?) and then a couple of small perspex boxes too. I want to try setting stuff in resin – I’ve found all the stuff I’d need on ebay – so it’s visible but inaccessible and the things I’d set would mostly likely be crap to start with. So things I’d throw away would become something I can’t throw away because it’s an art-thing, it’s an endless cycle of not throwing anything away… I might set more important things, things I don’t want to throw away, too just to see what that’d be like. It sounds like so much fun though, because you can set different layers of resin in one mould and get loads of stuff suspended…ooh fun. I think I’ll order that tomorrow. Hm.

I did a little drawing of a plinth. Just in case you don’t know what a plinth looks like. I’ve got a bit obsessed with boxes too, so I want to make some boxes out of stuff.



Embracing the crazy-collector-lady-ness of it all and going for as museum-y a display case as possible. I don’t know if it’ll be things/objects in it or things set in resin or lists or drawings, but I think boxing it in is kinda important.

I’m sat surrounded by empty boxes and some full boxes and boxes of things that need to be listed and it’s weird. It’s change but not change – although I had to make it change, so I moved my desk so there was some purpose to clearing it (I can now look out of the window as I work and it’s a lot better). It’s a weird time to pack everything up – not only because we don’t move out until the summer, but because the fourth flatmate is having to move out at the start of December and we’ve gotten a new one coming in, so there’s going to be a flurry of packing and moving and I’ll have packed my room up for no logical reason. A bit weird. Maybe it’s the trauma of moving all over again…heh. It’s quite nice having empty shelves though.

I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep things in boxes. Although I found a box this afternoon that I hadn’t unpacked at all because it was just useless things, and having not seen that box since June/July it was lovely to sit down and look at everything. The trouble is I didn’t throw anything out when I was packing then because it was all a bit ‘must keep everything, must not leave anything behind’ and now I can’t get rid of the piece of pasta shaped like a bike or useless bank things on bits of plastic because I’ve just found it again. So I probably won’t get rid of anything if I unpack again in a few months. But then maybe I will, because I’ll have lived without it for that long when it’s right next to me, just hidden.

I really don’t think I’ll get rid of any books. They’re too beautiful. Who knows. I think that’ll do for now.



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