The Carrier Pot
These are all my pots.
There is an impulse… when I see something I like, something that might be useful or curious… to keep it. To hold it. To save it in these pots. These scavenged objects, images and words spark abundant associations, so it feels essential to collect them in this way, after all: "If you haven't got something to put it in, food will escape you".
Ursula Le Guin's 'Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction', from which that quote was collected, positions the bag or
container, the pot, as the primary human tool - rather than the frequently mythologised spear - and expands
this bag to encompass a theory of artistic creation rather than simply evolution. (Le Guin's essay, itself,
collects its name from anthropologist Elizabeth Fisher's coinage of the 'Carrier Bag Theory' of human
Both of these explorations establish 'collecting' as the most human impulse, and now digital technology has allowed me to evolve fully into my preferred scavenger form: scurrying around the internet like the content goblin that I am, gobbling up the parts that I like and vomiting them back out again. This is the visceral, vulgar description best suited to such a shameless/full practice. Fraternising with media and source material written off as trash, as inferior to primary sources or (god forbid) physical reality.
These are the things I collect, in folders on my hard drive - in playlists, in notes, in bookmarks - the 'Copy/Paste Theory of Art'. A metaphysical kind of holding: as a form of love and a form of control, of joy and desperation.
And digital space (driven by algorithms and the kind of bad decision making we can trace back to a lack of parental supervision during the early stages of childhood development) tends to trend towards a philosophy of: "this… but MORE!"
... perhaps resulting in a culture that is both amplified and distilled, the impulse (that is, any impulse) at its most human. Secondary is the new primary, derivative is the new superior.
As artist Issy Wood is quoted as saying: “What does ‘from life’ even mean in this day and age?”