Song Dong Waste Not until Jan 27th
at Carriageworks, Sydney
I met some friends at Carriageworks the other day and realised I would have to go back with some more time to see “Waste Not”. And so I did.
What would happen if you could spread ALL the contents of your home in a big shed?
This installation shows everything that Song Dong’s mother had accumulated over the years. Some items there she had for fifty years! Growing up in communist China pre-industrialisation you were trained to save and re-use. So she started keeping everything.
The exhibition was a healing experience as they as a family went through everything each time they re-assemble the show.
As a good Cancerian my hoarding tendencies are quite strong, so it was a great mirror for me going through the exhibition looking at all the items, big and small.
I loved the bird cages. My grandfather used to grow quails and other birds, so there were always lots of wooden cages around. I was never fond of keeping birds in cages, but I had such a great relationship with my Grandad as a young child. I was always fascinated with all his artesan skills, building things out of wood, including the cages and pieces of furniture.
However the main thing I felt while looking at the exhibition was raw exposure. Are the things that we keep able to tell a story of who we are?
What an amazing act of bravery!
I actually spent quite a bit of time there, but noticed that most people, apart from the reading part, would not spend more than 10 min looking around the whole exhibition. Was this a sign of our short attention spam? Or were they feeling generally uncomfortable?
I felt uncomfortable. (Would I feel different if I lived a less cluttered existence? Not sure). But I stayed. I felt some sadness for the pure impermanence of the material world. One day, everything fades away. Material possessions loose their beauty and become junk.
I felt like invading someone’s privacy as well. But I stayed …
And then I started looking for treasure.
The bird cages were treasure-like for me. But then I realised that the true treasure were the bars of soap, some from the early 60’s! The soap bars were rationed and scarce at that time, so they were very precious.
I think once one feels the need to save everything, they may continue to do so for the rest of their lives. In a continuous journey of disenchantment and lack of trust in providence. I suppose part of the sadness I felt was brought by that as well, the obvious hardship that appear to have lead to the compulsive hoarding.
After being in Song Dong’s installation my questions for us in the modern world were:
Can we go fanatic about re-cycling and start accumulating too much clutter?
Is there an underlying connection between frugality and hoarding?
The exibition ends on Sunday 27th Jan. I hope you can go. And let me know how you liked it.