Saturday, January 30, 2010


or, to follow on yesterday's theme of collecting, what should one put in this - this pyramid cabinet, which I bore off proudly from a store in Princeton some seven or eight years ago, and have always felt that I failed to get Right? To be sure, the drawers have things in them, and to some extent, shape determines position - so there are, I think, some envelopes on one layer, and Documents near the bottom, and a drawer full of slides from when I was at high school, and from my gap year, somewhere in the middle, waiting to be scanned on some - hagh! - idle occasion. But this is just a matter of finding somewhere to put these things away: really, I should exploit the idea of a hierarchy of importance, with the most precious objects on top, or have one drawer for orange things, another for purple; or one drawer for objects beginning with A. Or maybe I could find my socks, in future - that is, pairs of socks, for single ones are rarely a problem. In other words, this piece of furniture has me thinking about the way in which shapes and containers can determine, or at least organize collections. In other words, they can have the potential to influence how we conceptualize categories. This may not be the norm - the other way round - what is the most effective way to show off my collection of abacuses, or mustard pots, or snakes (for yes, I think one can "collect" not very easily anthropomorphizable critters) is surely more common. But a collection that starts off with the means of containing it: that poses some good challenges.

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