imaginary outfit: the collector

Collectors are fascinating. The tension of a specific personal focus directing a mania for acquisition is endlessly interesting to me. I envy the grand collectors - people like the Duchess of Portland or Isabella Stewart Gardner. What power to want a thing just to have a thing, to complete your own idea of what should go together, and then be able to extend your hand and get it. It would be something to leave a museum behind after you die.

I am a collector of the digital realm. Only in the wilds of the internet does my reach match that of any other, unlimited by finance or space. In real life, I feel oppressed by objects and possessions. I constantly battle to winnow them down to the minimum, to finely balance what I need between utility and delight. But online, I have cathedrals of space, and room enough for whatever I want. It becomes a delight in its own way to pick and choose from the multitudes, knowing there is really no limit other than my own likes and dislikes. I can acquire and discard with abandon, and reorder and rearrange with little effort, seeing new things together or sets complete and entire.

As intoxicating as this is, sometimes I think about having the power to assemble actual objects - about going into back rooms of shops, attics and basements, unearthing the rare and the strange - about what life would be like if I had as much control to shape physical space to my will as I do virtual space. I wonder if anything I've assembled will last - although even the Duchess of Portland's magnificent collection was auctioned in the end.

In the meantime, this is my latest digital collection.