The above images illustrate two different kinds of collections. The first is a historical collection, namely that of Karatsu Castle, which includes subsets of both Exhibitions and a collection of Kiln Fragments from the prefecture, organised by kiln (each had a specialty!).
a) What does this collection communicate? >The historians’ dedication to local history is evidenced by the care taken in collecting and cataloging the ceramic fragments from different areas and arranging them in a way that they can be appreciated.
b) What characteristics do the objects have in common? >They are fragments collected from kilns. All made of ceramic.
c) What if the objects were in a different time/place/order? >If they had been collected earlier they would surely have been scrapped or crushed. In a different place, this collection could look alien and hoard-like, without the context of its historical relevance and local ancestry. In another order, the objects would make less sense, as the kilns all had different specialties which become evident only when the fragments from each kiln can be compared to one another.
The second photo is an example of an “Unconventional” collection: it can be dated back to when I was 5 or 6, as my spelling was always very good, yet here is a spelling error!! The collection itself is made up of a sweet mix of items: some for their own interestesting qualities, others simply together because of my own nascent interests: I have continued to collect old and foreign coins since; the sticker of a cat with a ball of yarn aligns with my fascination with cats, which continues to this day (likely until I pass); the hollow tiny gourd is in and of itself curious; the yellow bone is likely from a Kinder Egg from the same year as the box; the small pebble was likely taken from a beach, from which I would also have gathered (and later amassed) sea shells and mother-of-pearl fragments; the tiny fuzzy teddy was from the front-of-villa stall of my Italian best friend. The scrap of swimming costume is from the strap of a favourite swimsuit I grew out of; I’m not sure what the scrap of paper means, but I guess it was important somehow. I’m 100% sure it’s my mum’s handwriting, though, so that likely made it special enough to be in the box!!
a) What does this collection communicate? >This is the collection of a small child, a crude yet delicate selection of items which might once have held some special significance on their own. As a group of items, they appear unrelated, yet bound by the fact they reside in the same container.
b) What characteristics do the objects have in common? >They are small and essentially insignificant objects with no real monetary value of their own. They are priceless possessions, worthless to anyone but the original owner, as they remain a kind of time capsule insight into a younger mind.
c) What if the objects were in a different time/place/order? >If collected by an adult, this collection would appear far stranger and perhaps even absurd – amassed by a child, however, the items retain a sense of innocence. In a different place, and thus context, such as a gallery or museum, this collection might suddenly become a precious or valuable practical piece of information in relation to a people or a culture. It is not, though. There is no real order to the items here. A different order would simply mean displaying them in another way. The story told by the objects would stay the same.