The Welsh Dresser: an atlas

This essay is an encounter with a series of objects contained in a Welsh dresser. I sat with each object for a while and wrote down my thoughts. The thoughts I have start with the objects, with their nature as things, as material facts, as historical evidence, but spiral out creating a wider theoretical and spatial constellation. Walter Benjamin considered the photograph, as document rather than work of art, to invoke a mode of analysis rather than contemplation. But are these objects like photographs? Are my encounters with them moments of analysis or ones of contemplation? Is this where the thinking starts or where it stops? Certainly the view close-up reduces the frame, but this gives me time and space to reflect. An encounter with a detail is also a map of the imagination: an atlas of the welsh dresser.

The essay was published as ‘The Welsh Dresser: An Atlas’, Brandon La Belle (ed.), Surface Tension, (2003).

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