From Centre to Periphery

Past Pleasures
Series  I & II


Location: Scotland, Edinburgh
PastPleasures explores the relationship with our previous possessions, their meaning and their decay.

Rather than shipped abroad to be discarded or landfilled out of view, these objects were encountered close to home in a junk yard and second hand shop on the outskirts of Edinburgh, at ‘Samuel Burns’. Back in 1947, Burns became known as a firewood company disposing of old furniture, turning into a clearance company in the years to follow. Burn’s son, current owner and heir of the family business, still resides onsite between two sharply divided worlds: One consisting of 3 sheds brimming with goods waiting for a second chance – while the other exists outside these protective borders, where nature slowly takes part of the neglected and unwanted back.

As these past pleasures are excruciatingly decaying, they become symbols of designed obsolescence and fleeting tastes. Until they have resolved and merged with the ground, our immediate entanglement in these histories and social constructs remains in-sight.

The ongoing series has been framed as a find in a 2233 digital archaeological archive, which allows the viewer to ‘look back at today’ and ask themselves why we value(d) certain objects over others and what, if any, personal connotations might these objects have carried. Could one trace the stories behind them, track their owners? Will we mine what’s left of them as new resource frontiers in 2233, when today’s waste dumps are searched of locked-in material value; or will they merely remain fossils of a different world we once occupied.

The photographs were printed on thin acetate and placed between see-through plates so that they can only be properly viewed with a white plate. Viewing the images becomes a ritual and by the same token reading their meaning. An introduction text as part of the box describes how the photographs have been retrieved batch by batch and clues have been taken from them about the years 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2020 with the aid of the sparingly available camera metadata.