Golden Years

Why do we collect things and what do they mean to us? While there are a multitude of answers to this question and myriad motivations behind the acts of acquiring, collecting, and even hoarding, I perceive our homes and belongings to be external manifestations of our innermost selves and desires. They are also opportunities to reveal our personalities to others while providing comfort to us by reflecting our self-images.

I am interested in how the relationships between people and their belongings may change throughout the different stages of life, the ritual of buying, the role which marketing and advertising play in this cycle, and how elderly individuals are persuaded to buy through manipulatory tactics.

My maternal grandmother was a self-professed lifelong collector, and during the stage of life we idealistically refer to as “the golden years,” she fulfilled her ongoing desire to collect by purchasing items from QVC and the Home Shopping Network. In addition to providing an elderly woman with a way to pass the time, they also offered her the illusion of companionship through the ongoing dialogue between the televised salespeople and various shoppers calling from their homes.

This body of work was created by altering and reassembling items from my late grandmother’s extensive collection of costume jewelry and knitted afghans. Through this work, I am questioning how desire and excess relate to loneliness and fulfillment. Does one not purport to solve the other? And, what is the difference between having and being?