> posted by   on August 20th 2014

Collect to remember?

GI Joe action figures, stuffed animals, hats, porcelain cats, sharpeners and disposable lighters . And many more immense collections. The result of our consumer society, brought together by Dutch visual artist Pet van de Luijtgaarden. He is fascinated by the absurdity of the multitude of things. “Shops are getting bigger and fuller, but what do we all need it for?”

As a child, Pet van de Luijtgaarden collected beer bottles and stamps; in his student days, he changed his focus to books. Now he spends hours on the Internet and drives across the Netherlands for collections that are often offered for sale.

This special exhibition was presented on April 2014 during the last Studium Generale event at TU/e Technical University in Eindhoven. Everything was neatly arranged into an ordered landscape with remarkable objects from our throwaway society. The huge variety of colours , shapes and themes fascinates and surprises. Is this the joy of collecting, it it nostalgia, or are we looking at the excesses of waste and greed?

photo 1a photo 1z photo 3x photo 4z

Another show about “collecting” will open on September the 3rd this year at Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden in Germany. This special exhibition titled “OKOLO OFFLINE TWO – COLLECTING” was specially curated by Matylda Krzykowski (Depot Basel) and Adam Stech (Okolo). The members of Okolo are fascinated by the meaning of objects. They scrutinise the world of things with finely tuned sensibility, and post selected examples of paradigmatic design on their blog, okoloweb.cz. This particular interest has transformed the collective into a group of collectors. The quintessentially human theme of collecting is therefore the focus of the exhibition, which casts light on both private and museum collecting. Experts express their views, and finally several specific themes are explored through examples. Each week, the content of the exhibition is augmented with a blogpost on okoloweb.cz, thus making it accessible to a wider public beyond the exhibition.


I was asked by curator Matylda Krzykowski (Depot Basel) to write down some reflections about “collecting”.

Here I would like to share my thoughts:

Collect to remember

Despite our geopolitical situation, we cannot stop the development of our modern technology. This is the most powerful driver of all changes of the past and the future. Technology of the future will be based on graphene. This remarkably strong material (based on carbon) will replace today’s hero – silicon. Graphene will dematerialise our cross-disciplinary Internet of Things (IoT). Now is the question, what kind of “things’ will be a part of IoT? This new interconnected world will be linked through nano-small semi-conductors that will speed our computers beyond our imagination. We will start to appreciate ordinary products like never before and find extraordinary values in them. Many products have already disappeared and many more will follow. Before, we had a record player, photo camera, notebook, agenda, stationary telephone, TV, video, CDs, books, Yellow Pages, dictionary, encyclopaedia, maps, newspapers, magazines, photo albums and 1000 things more. Today all these “things” fit in one simple smartphone. What we will collect in the future? Already today we have started to COLLECT our “friends” and “links” on social pages. Is this the beginning of a dematerialised collection? Can we collect emotion, or scent or even experience? Can we collect warm hugs and friendly smiles? While our black-scenario-collection will only contain food and water. Anyway, we should collect, appreciate and enjoy various crazy THINGS (products) as long as this is possible before they have disappeared forever. Let’ s collect the archeology of the near future. Don’t trash them – repair them!