April 3, 2010

Bric-a-brac by Brick

Coming to a new city is an unnerving experience, regardless of whether or not you can speak the language. In Malmö I find my inability to know where I am in relation to other places extremely discombobulating, I know how to get from A to B, and from A to C, but where the deuce are B and C in relation to each other?! For me, getting around in a city is not purely being able to fashion out a route to a local supermarket and pub and friendly group of shops, its knowing which roads intersect with each other, and which are your neighbouring suburbs, or how to get from on city square to another without it being an accident. Actually knowing where you are going when you are walking along/cycling around.
I am coming up to being in Malmö four weeks, and I am impatient to readily grasp my geography. Its is hard to get the feeling of places in a city when you know there isn't much really for you to be doing outside of your apartment.
It is fine to walk around and 'explore' but I think I need to explore with a purpose. I need something to do whilst I am out wandering the streets, something that hopefully doesn't require me to be holding my camera at all times as I have never really been particularly snap happy.
I was thinking of this at the same time as I was brooding about my new lack of possessions.
I have always been a collector of things, from stamps in the formative years, to records and knick knacks and scrap material more recently. It feels strange to not be surrounded by these things, which I think I ended up holding onto out of habit more than anything else. So when it came to crunch time, a lot of these collected items were either relegated to the rubbish bin, or wound up in a garage sale, found a safe haven in the collections of others.
It seems appropriate to start a new collection in a new city, and it sounds like an excellent way to explore, as I would be exploring with a purpose.

Collections have always impressed me, such as Christian Marclay's record collection of christmas songs, or my grandmothers collection of tea pots. Recently my father has begun a collection of 3 foot rules. It is foolish to 'decide' to collect something for the sake of it however, and I am still holding out for the one glorious item I discover to get the collection ball rolling. At the moment, the only thing I seem to have in any quantity is scarves. Scarves?! I don't even know why I keep buying them, I always end up taking them off at the last minute.
I put it down to the story of Audrey Hepburn who arrived in New York with one skirt, shirt, dress, and slacks or something, and hardly enough money to buy any more, but managed to maintain her chic look with a vast array of scarves. I suppose I was trying to emulate that but ended up hating the scarves too much.
I believe I am more the sort of person to acculmulate an assortment of knick knacks, and view them as a single entity, a whole collection.
I am sure there are as many uncovered treasures in Malmö as there is, for me, uncharted territory. I can't wait to do some genuine foraging. The world is a far more exciting place when you are actually looking for something.

images from 'To Have & To Hold: Making Collections' (2009) Objectspace, N.Z

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