The role of the collector or the influence of the collector came up in my second critique and was a bit of a sidestep in terms of what I was wanting to do with the work. I think what bothered me about it is not so much it’s presence in the work (as I felt it wasn’t important in that work) but because it wasn’t something I had actually thought abut in relation to that work. Which is remiss of me as it is a thing that pops up when there is a process of collection that occurs, even when it is a collection of time or of information (it’s one of the lovely things in Sophie Calle‘s work, the presence of the artist as intrusive collector).

Plastic wood

I had been lending to the objects I was working with, the same language and thinking I had been using for the works on paper, thinking of the objects as a related series rather than a collection which led me to wonder when does a series become a collection and how can you make a collection into a series?

The dictionary (Collins Online) has these definitions:

Collection (noun)

  1. the act or process of collecting
  2. a number of things collected or assembled together
  3. a selection of clothes, esp as presented by a particular designer for a specified season
  4. something gathered into a mass or pile; accumulation   ⇒ a collection of rubbish
  5. a sum of money collected or solicited, as in church
  6. removal, esp regular removal of letters from a postbox
  7. (often plural) (at Oxford University) a college examination or an oral report by a tutor

Series (noun)

(plural) -ries

  1. a group or connected succession of similar or related things, usually arranged in order
  2. a set of radio or television programmes having the same characters and setting but different stories
  3. a set of books having the same format, related content, etc, published by one firm
  4. a set of stamps, coins, etc, issued at a particular time
  5. (mathematics) the sum of a finite or infinite sequence of numbers or quantities See also geometric series
  6. (electronics)
    1. a configuration of two or more components connected in a circuit so that the same current flows in turn through each of them (esp in the phrase in series)
    2. (as modifier)   ⇒ a series circuit
      Compare parallel (sense 10)
  7. (rhetoric) a succession of coordinate elements in a sentence
  8. (geology) a stratigraphical unit that is a subdivision of a system and represents the rocks formed during an epoch

So most of the difference seems to be in the arrangement and the relationship between the things, a linear chronological arrangement applies to both, a succession where like follows on from like describes a series, things perhaps more closely related than the wider range that can be encompassed by a collection. The collection too always implies the presence of the figure of collector, the finder, the keeper and the arranger.

The oversight I had made of not even thinking of this in relation to the Seminar works seems even more glaring when I am also in the process of investigating just that; my role as collector of stolen goods, as hoarding magpie in a small exhibition ‘Stolen’.


Pilfered. Shown here with file names not actual titles.



Here the role of collector is my own personal one, its what ties these objects together; the glue, the binder is my own impulses and compulsions. I applied the idea in one area and forgot it entirely in another.





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