In December of 2017, the culmination of ideas surrounding the theme of “instant collectibles” led to the completion of an action.
This action had the artist source, sort (according to a set of pre-established rules) and archive advertisements from a range of British newspapers. These papers included, but were not exclusive to, The Courier, The Times, The Evening Standard, The Scottish Sun, and The Daily Mail.
Amongst these advertisements were a mix of standard “instant collectible” issues (such as plates featuring royalty and statues of Celtic players) as well as more catalogue themed order forms for cheap trousers and/or walking boots. Other offers were in fact organised by the papers themselves, advertising shops named for their parent companies; eg. ‘The DC Thompson Shop’.
The cabinet itself is completely unique, handmade from old cardboard packaging. Inside the three, evenly sized, drawers sits laser-cut file dividers, each labelled with a different newspaper and arranged in alphabetical order. Simple cotton string acts as the handles. The whole thing feels very basic, and simplistic.
Now full, the cabinet has started to lean, allowing the work to give in to it’s handmade connotations. It is certainly not perfect, and was never intended to be. It is there for one purpose, and could not be used on a daily basis. The cardboard creates friction, making the drawers hard to open, especially when full. It is not ideal and so contrasts with the perfectly, and correctly archived newspapers it contains.
The Action itself was extremely repetitive. Ideally, the entire session would have taken place over the course of one day. This had to be extended to three days due to the absolute mass of newspapers collected. Somehow, doing the same thing over and over again was both monotonous and pressure filled. Each day I had to learn my routine again. The little enjoyment had was restricted due to the rules of the Action. Enjoyment was not the aim and so the focus would be moved back to the process itself.
Documentation of an archival action, performed in December 2017.