The Art and Science of Collecting

I'm a collector. A collector is driven by other things. Collecting is a form of knowledge which allows a closer representation of the dead than history or narrative. It may be an obsession and a fickle one at that. For me though, it's an exact science because we are dealing with objects and not abstractions, and like most sciences, the collection of objects provides arbitrary closure, physical results -- shapes, odours, touch -- in order to claim authority. For example, a book entombs its time. This thin volume of poetry printed in Paris with a few specks of tobacco leaf pressed near the spine or the Gitanes cigarette packet with someone's initials scrawled over the blue figure of a gypsy woman, have more than smoking in common. History has missed a vital clue: the dead are gypsies. Still active, they flutter here and there, moths before the famles. With their painted fingernails they pull out cigarettes, underscore lines of poetry. They've left us these signs. Signs which make us what we are. You simply have to know how to collect them. You have to know the detours; that the whole idea of any story, like existence itself, is beside the point.

From The Garden Book by Brian Castro, pages 6-7

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 23, 2006 9:18 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #13 - The Mystery of the Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume was the previous entry in this blog.

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