Take a quick scan of the room where you are right now and immediately you may be confronted by old receipts, buttons torn from clothes, ribbons, coins, postcards and their small windows of stamps, things that don’t have any visible use but which you are still saving for “later,” and other bric-a-bracs you accumulate amid the larger and what you consider as more important possessions. Collectively, these things amount close to nothing, on the verge of being thrown away and never to be seen again.
But these objects—small and mute as they are—are still potentially useful. They may re-serve their old purpose or they may be given voice as art. Conceptual art, mixed media and found object are friendly territories for “things” not only because of their physical properties (their hue, size and texture) but because of the ready commentaries they proffer on what kind of life we live. Our material culture reflects our tastes, choices and aspirations. It presents a polished mirror on how we live as a society.