Concerning looking at insignificant objects with interest:
I have come to a stage in my Caspian Sea project where some reconsideration must take place. From the start I assumed that the things that I had saved were insignificant and trivial. A quick look was enough. Completely useless and worthless things – four cockle shells, two stones, two twigs, two pieces of plastic, a blue toy, a coin, a broken clay biscuit, three smooth pieces of wood. This very description confirms their triviality.
I wanted them to be insignificant because that is the object of my study. But to study insignificance requires taking a closer look at each of the things. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? I have started to take notes in small miniature notebooks that I manufactured for the task. Seven out of sixteen things have been scrutinized so far. And what has happened? By studying the dead, dry and stiff things in front of me they turned into significant things. MY PERSONAL INTEREST is directed towards them – i.e. they become significant and of some value. At least for as long as they are key elements of my artistic project.
On the other hand there is the CULTURAL attribution of significance. Some things are regarded by people (of a certain ethnicity, class, community etc.) as insignificant and trivial regardless any individuals’ interest in them or not. Things of material culture always belong to some hierarchical context of social values.
So what am I studying? Insignificance for me? Or insignificance as a cultural attribution? Or a blend of this two perspectives? An insignificant thing can turn into a valueable thing for me, but will that affect its cultural insignificance?