A quick jaunt through the internet’s collection of blogs reveals a sometimes startling trend toward the spartan life; any number of sites dedicated to ridding one’s self of extraneous detritus like so many folds of fat. While I’m not entirely sure that it is singular to the generation of web connected, chic geek types it does seem to have embedded itself deeply in the collective conscious.
One is inundated with a myriad of ways to de-clutter one’s workspace, thereby improving productivity. How-Tos on creating furniture within furniture can be found in innumerable permutations; helping you create Russian nesting doll contraptions that can transform and unfold from bed to sofa to kitchen sink. Thousands of words are dedicated to hollowing out everything you own to mask, disguise, and camouflage the embarrassing traces of your unsightly possessions. Pages and pages and pages dedicated to those wishing to live in vacuous, tidy, Ikea showrooms; their work-spaces lone laptops seated upon vast expanses of desk.
No doubt this is an admirable pursuit, and I have gleaned very helpful information from such laser-like studies of militant organization. Yet, I am much closer to the other end of the spectrum. That is to say that I am more of a hoarder. I collect; I accumulate. Like Pigpen, my very existence draws stuff to it. My dream domicile is almost the antithesis of the sterile, productive space; lined from wall to wall with items and objects. A familial trait, passed down through a successive line of hoarders on both sides, it is firmly entrenched; oblivious to any and all attempts at change.
In that regard I can watch this short film by Martin Hampton and see some of myself in it. These people, surrounded by their things whose meaning and importance is only known and understood by them, is at once comforting and heart wrenching. The most startling realization may be that these individuals know that something is not quite right. They are aware that this is not “normal” and they are trapped by it. It is the idea of the things you own owning you made real.