A number of my friends seem to be doing cool art stuff at the moment.

Take Sarah Faraday for example. A photographer by trade, Sarah is working on a project based up in Liverpool called Possessed, in which she is considering issues around the value and status of a photograph of a thing, compared to the actual thing itself, and asks the question, which of your own possessions could you give up in exchange for a photograph of it…

Good question eh?

There are obviously different levels on which this can be considered. At one end is the ridiculous. Giving up a body part (although I see someone has offered their wisdom teeth.. ouch) or a million dollars or your flat/ house in exchange for a photo of it, would I suggest be a step too far.

At the other end of the spectrum is the very easy thing to swap. Sarah can have as many of my old Weekend Guardians, Kit Kat wrappers or as much household dust as she likes in exchange for one of her lovely photos…

In between these two extremes however, are some real conundrums… A love letter for example. As long as you could still read it, do you really need the actual paper with the words on? Or a present from someone who is no longer around. If it’s just sitting on a shelf, or even worse, shut away in a box in the spare room, wouldn’t it be better (or at least as good) to have a picture of it in a little frame on the wall?

I’ve thought about this for a while now and have decided to send in some of my favorite stamps…

They were issued in 1957 and celebrate the World Scout Jubilee Jamboree. Whilst they may not look much to you, I’ve had these for many years as they were given to me by my parents when I was an, erm,  Boy Scout.

There seem to be a number of  levels at which this issue operates, and the image below is an attempt to represent some of them. Firstly there’s me holding the actual, real set of stamps I’m proposing to send in, then a (not very good) photo I’ve just taken as a record of my stamps before I send them off. Then there is a stolen digital internet picture of the high value stamp which is far better than my effort, and shows the finer details of the design. And finally another internet picture this time of a first day cover, which in terms of value alone, could be argued would be a far nicer thing to own…

Stamps combined

So four versions of the same thing. The ones I’m holding I’ve owned for at least 35 years and although it will be a wrench to give them up, I know I can easily get some more, and to all intents and purposes no one (except me) would ever know the difference, certainly not my parents (unless they read this of course) and anyway, whose to say that’s not what I’ve done already…

In the end, it all comes down to the attachment generated by sentiment, how much emotion we have committed to the object in the first place before we are asked to give it up, although monetary value I suspect will usually have a part to play.

All in all I think it’s an excellent idea, one with huge scope for argument and discussion about the value we put on things.  This post for example is now record of this process, and having spent a couple of hours putting it together, it has already accrued some value that may help soften the blow of losing my stamps….

One final thing, I’m a big fan of the ambigramic project logo, very clever…

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  1. April 22, 2013 at 11:44

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