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Happy Birthday!
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Happy Birthday!

Published May 6, 2009

Happy first anniversary!

So this project made it through its first year. It’s been fun all along. So, I don’t have any new photos right now, because my hard drive is broken and my laptop has been sent in to repair. But I’ve got some cool non-photo stuff as birthday presents!

Birthday Present #1

Recently I re-read Paul Austers novel “City of Glass”, part of his “New York Trilogy”. I read it before, but this time I had an English version. And I found this very interesting paragraph:

[the back story: Quinn, who isn’t really a private investigator, is doing a detectives job, the obsevation of Mr. Stillman. Stillman is walking around the city all the time and Quinn is following him]

As he walked, Stillman did not look up. His eyes were permanently fixed on the pavement, as though he were searching for something. Indeed, every now and then he would stoop down, pick some object off the ground, and examine it closely, turning it over and over in his hand. It made Quinn think of an archeologist inspecting a shard at some prehistoric ruin. Occasionally, after poring over an object in this way, Stillman would toll it back onto the sidewalk. But more often than not he would open his bag and lay the object gently inside it. Then, reaching into one of his coat pockets, he would remove a red notebook – similar to Quinn’s but smaller – and write in it with great concentration for a minute or two. Having completed his operation, he would return the notebook to his pocket, pick up his bag and continue on his way.
As far as Quinn could tell, the objects Stillman collected were valueless. They seemed to be no more than broken things, discarded things, stray bits of junk. Over the days that passed, Quinn noded a collapsible umbrella shorn of its material, the severed head of a rubber doll, a black glove, the bottom of a shattered light bulb, several pieces of printed matter (soggy magazines, shredded newspapters), a torn photograph, anonymous machine parts, and sundry other clumps of flotsam he could not identify. The fact that Stillmann took his scavenging seriously intruiged Quinn.

As it later turns out, Stillman collects thest broken things, because he wants to create a new language, with specific names for things that have lost their function. e.g. a broken umbrella has lost its function, yet we still call it a umbrella, or maybe a broken umbrella. Stillman claims that the object, when broken, has lost its correspondence with the word and therefore needs a new term. Weird, isn’t it?

Birthday Present #2

According to this article from The Times there is a guy, called Andrew Hughes, who taked photos of rubbish that he finds washed up on the shoreline. “His pictures, which will be on show for the next six months at the National Maritime Museum of America in Virginia, include plastic bottles, polystyrene takeaway boxes, lighters, drinks cans and burst balloons.” Somehow this concept sounds familiar to me…


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