Today’s consumerist society sells status symbols as identities. Minimalist movements reject personal baggage in favour of travelling light. Possessions and objects have a variety of roles, some of which are purely functional, others are deeply linked with our idea of self. What do these objects represent, and what do they say about us?
In collaboration with Yujiang Wang, I embarked on a journey to explore the intimate link between possessions and the self. Through the process of giving up emotionally charged possessions, we explore the personal impact of these relinquishments. The process of documenting the sacrificed objects through photography and film serves a dual purpose – as an integral part of the personal process, the first step of letting go; and as a reflection on the role of the image as a significant archival document. Can the camera capture anything of the emotion invested in an object, the memory, the “soul”?
The second stage is an invitation to explore the process for yourself at one of our “Swap Shop” days, where we pose the question: can you give up an object of personal importance in exchange for a photograph of it?
More stories and information here – www.possessed.org.uk If you would like to get involved, drop me a line.
On my wedding day, my dress was at the peak of its importance and function. As it sits in my wardrobe 6 years later, it feels like a dead thing. My memories of that day are captured in innumerable photographs – the only thing missing from them is the texture, the feel and weight, but these two elements – the event and the object – can never exist again as a single whole. The wedding day is over. The dress is not my marriage, so why do I retain it? As a symbol, it is redundant.
The image above is a still from a short film I made. The film takes the exploration of giving something up (and the value of the visual record) a step further to examine the moment of removal, the exertion of personal control over this removal process. The dress has served another purpose through this work. It’s an act, an experiment, a visual spectacle that fits my inquiring personality but, most importantly, it’s a letting go.