Monday, March 21, 2011

Tales of Obsession: From the Cigarette Pack to the Cat Scrapbook

In 1999, I collected 1,743 cigarette packs after my great-aunt's obsession with the object. I wanted to participate in her actions - not emulate then but interpret it in my own way. She used the cigarette pack as a notepad, recording the license plates of all the cars parked in front of her house on the backside of the shiny paper. The clear plastic exteriors were used as a wallets found in the pockets of her flannel shirts. I have never smoked a cigarette but for three months, I picked up every pack I found on the street and begged my friends and family to collect them for me as well. It was my first lesson in obsession and now I'm working with two subjects that have a direct relationship to this activity.

Fear of Schizophrenia, University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1999

While I was living in Portland, Oregon, my father gave me a cat scrapbook. One woman collected hundreds and hundreds of images of cats and adhered them in this gigantic five inch thick book.

One day (or more aptly, over several days), I counted the cats, one by one, placing a post-it on each page. The page with the most totaled 90. The page with the least equaled one.

The cats ranged from greeting cards to stamps to newspaper clippings and cartoons. This woman was as obsessed with collecting cats as I was cigarette packs. After looking at Matt McCormick's The Great Northwest in the previous post, it dawned on me that I must participate in the action I see before me. I must collect 3,770 cats. I currently envision creating wallpaper with what I find but we'll see how that idea transforms.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.