Monday, February 14, 2005

So much shared material culture

No doubt incredibly late to the party, I've nevertheless become strangely obsessed with the What's in your bag? group photo pool on Flickr.

Maybe it has something to do with my mother's purse, an object so private and sacred that as a child I could only imagine the magic it contained. And now I have the chance to peer into hundreds of bags, contents spilled in a mess or neatly arranged, glimpses into people's public/private lives. It's like having x-ray glasses, except that people want me to look.

But really it's the very mundane-ness of all this that appeals the most. And yet, I am slightly surprised at how many bags contain similar objects. Everyday things. Boring objects. Nonetheless can't-live-without things. So much shared material culture! No longer a cabinet of curiosities, but a shrine to the banal.

My own bag, dumped on the floor this afternoon, personal I thought, or at least idiosyncratic, suddenly fades into the collective 'bag'. Even my own notes are joined by others, and my objects becomes subjects. Of interest perhaps, or of interpretation.

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