Wednesday, May 25, 2011
dust in the wind.
i have been hearing tales of the museum of natural and artificial ephemerata since the last time we passed through austin. on that tour, i abandoned aitor in bat city for a week while i flew up to edmonton to shoot a movie. he got to explore everything while i jumped from oil town to oil town. his excitement over the museum was palpable - he even wanted to turn our apartment into a rotating display as a result. although we never fully acheived this dream (well, not yet, anyway), i have felt a great desire to visit this inspiration point ever since.
the museum, run out of the front room of co-curators scott and jen's home, is usually open only on saturdays but we were lucky enough to schedule a special appointment today. partly inherited from a mysterious great uncle of scott's, the 'impermanent collection' is a deceivingly small assortment of sub-categorized (aura, trace, natural, artificial, abject) cultural relics - elvis' hair, marilyn munro's cigarette butts, a yeti toy, glass from new york's doomed crystal palace, a bottle of sleep, incubator air, a flamingo head, snow globes, hair wreaths. although this collection is quite dense and dazzling enough, scott and jen also program a themed show or two a year with pieces from their own collection and relics on loan from kindred locals. they just wrapped up what looked to be a great show about the underground and caves. it was extra funny to see the cave room complete with fabric stalactites making its transition into their growing son's room.
the packed collection made my head spin with thoughts of other projects and general notions about objects, story, value and collecting. many of these themes have been ongoing in my life and i very much enjoyed being immersed in an environment dedicated entirely to the exploration of collecting. i was reminded of works by collectors and arrangers like barton lidice bennes, william davies king and even some friends like faythe and leah. as a side note, one of my most haunting regrets of last year's tour was becoming too run down and harried in california to collect on mr. king's invitation to visit his nothing collection. hopefully, i will find my way to rectifying that situation this year. but, i digress...
even with such a relatively small collection, i can't wait to revisit the museum should we ever find ourselves back through austin. even looking at these pictures i see objects whose stories i did not hear. we did go home with a bit of ephemera of our own - a couple of publications from the museum's past shows and impermanent collection. these books are as slim and dense as the museum itself and i hope they serve to fill me with thoughts and stories that will tide me over until we find ourselves deep in texas once again.