PRESS RELEASE: The Social Collector

The Social Collector
Abb.: Mount Wilson Observatory, Foto: The Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles)

The Social Collector

151. Ausstellung der ACC Galerie Weimar, in Zusammenarbeit mit Ronald Hirte (Weimar).

24.10.2005 bis 15.1.2006, ACC Galerie

Erste Eröffnung Sonntag, 23.10.2005, 20 Uhr:
Sammlung "No one may ever have the same knowledge again" - The Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles);
Sammlung "so geht revolution" - Mediologische Vereinigung (Ludwigsburg);
Heinos Raritätenkabinett (Sieglitz);
Sammlung Rausch (Frankfurt am Main);

Zweite Eröffnung Sonntag, 30.10.2005, 20 Uhr:
Sammlung "Vom Terror zur Unabhängigkeit" - Lettisches Okkupationsmuseum (Riga);
Sammlungen "Vinyl Plastics Collection" und "Kaekko" - Hiroshi Fuji (Fukuoka);
"Russen-Antennen" - Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge (Berlin).

Täglich von 12 bis 18 Uhr, Fr und Sa von 12 bis 20 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung geöffnet. Eintritt 3 EUR, erm. 2 EUR Eintritt 1 EUR für Inhaber des TAFELPASS (Weimarer Tafel)

Führungen (kostenlos) Sa 18 Uhr und So 15 Uhr.

Mit Unterstützung der Kulturstiftung des Bundes, der Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Thüringen, der Stadt Weimar, der Stiftung Federkiel und des ACC-Förderkreises

PRESS RELEASE: The Social Collector

  • 151st exhibition by the ACC Gallery Weimar, in collaboration with Ronald Hirte (Weimar).
  • Supported by the Federal Cultural Foundation, the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Thuringia, the City of Weimar, the Federkiel Foundation, and the ACC-Förderkreis (Friends of the ACC).
  • 25.10.05 to 15.1.06; Mon. to Sun., 12 noon to 6 pm and by prior arrangement, Fri. and Sat. until 8 pm.
  • Openings 23./30.10.05; admission 3,-/reduced rate 2,- EUR; tours Sat. 6 pm/Sun. 3 pm.

1st Opening, Sunday, 23.10.2005, 8 pm:

Collection No one may ever have the same knowledge again - The Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles); Collection so geht revolution - Mediologische Vereinigung (Ludwigsburg); Heinos Raritätenkabinett (Sieglitz); Collection Rausch (Frankfurt am Main)

2nd Opening, Sunday, 30.10.2005, 8 pm:

Collection From Terror to Independence - Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (Riga); Collections Vinyl Plastics Collection and Kaekko - Hiroshi Fuji (Fukuoka); Russian Antennas - Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge (Berlin)


As concretised association, all collecting is a continual effort to come to terms with the passage of time. As a cultural technique, collecting not only has an element of the protective, but also of the anxious. This anxiety is not only directed towards past things that have been lost, but also towards future uncertainties. Collections are intended to serve as a reflection of those who establish them; a reflection that overcomes time, since the collectors themselves are of less substantial duration. Collecting quietens and placates people. Collecting activities are always a response to unexpected and chance events, to new conditions - collecting brings meaning, order, limits and significance into the arbitrary, threatening, incomprehensible or fragmentary. The Social Collector presents seven different social motives for collecting, along with a corresponding selection of exhibits, and thus introduces us to protagonists who counter the apparently inalterable order of things with their own very individual systems:

Collection No one may ever have the same knowledge again - The Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles)

The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles is a cross between a unique educational institute of natural history and an artist's installation, dedicated to spreading knowledge from the early Jurassic Age up to the present day. Using the experience of a walk into the past and the methods of contemporary art, this private museum - run by its founder and curator David Wilson - functions like a magical trick: visitors are never entirely certain how much is true, and how much illusion. The exhibitions examine phenomena which are conceivable, if not always entirely probable. They include a collection of around thirty letters that have been directed to the Mount Wilson Observatory in the Sierra Madre near Pasadena / California by educated and uneducated contemporaries from all over the world since 1911. While many letters simply express acknowledgement and admiration for the work done by the astronomers, another group of letters was written by people who believed they had gained important insights from experiments, observations or simply ideas - and they felt compelled to share these with the astronomers. Without exception, these writers had a strong desire, even a need to communicate the results of their investigations to the professional observers from the Mount Wilson Observatory. Generations of astronomers have passed the letters on to the next. Now - as the collection No one may ever have the same knowledge again - they form part of the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Collection so geht revolution (that's revolution)
- Mediologische Vereinigung (Ludwigsburg)

Commandante Che Guevara invites you to take part in a Salsa course, and Karl Marx advertises in DIN A2 format for the sale of office software: "The workers must own the means of production". Current messages from the glittering world of advertising call upon us to travel without a ticket, to skip work, or we are simply encouraged to "radicalise life!" Logically, clear messages may also be found on the t-shirts worn by fashion-conscious young people: "Disarm now!", "Protest", "Rebellion" or even "Prada-Meinhof". Left-wing topics and the "heroes" of the 1968 Movement have returned - if in altered form - to our everyday life. For some time now, Rudi Maier, a cultural theorist from Ludwigsburg, has been collecting advertisements and TV-spots concerning street battles and the pop icons of the leftist movement. A hundred such advertisements focusing on the topics of freedom, radicalisation and revolution, dating from 1967 to the present day, give us an insight into his collection.

Heinos Raritätenkabinett (Heino's Cabinet of Curiosities) (Sieglitz)

In the prefabricated building of a former Socialist village school in Sieglitz / Saxony-Anhalt, the pensioner Heino Kirbst and his wife Christel run Heinos Raritätenkabinett, a collection consisting of thirty thematic rooms on everyday German culture. This public museum of local worlds (a tour takes 90 minutes) exhibits the deep-set foundations of professional, educational and private fields, enabling us to grasp the everyday world from the perspective of social history. The rooms bear names such as "Everything about Sawing and Wood", "Weaving, Knitting & Spinning", "A Post Office of the 70s", "209 Sewing Machines", "Telephones & Radio Equipment", "Everything about Tobacco, Cigarettes & Cigars", "Shooting & Hunting Weapons & at present 100 Irons" or "Making Jam and Syrups". The Kirbst family also collect children's toys, tractors and old-timers. Our presentation from the Kirbst collection focuses on special machines and apparatus such as the pancake piper, the razor-blade sharpener, the denture-rubber press, the cherry stoner, the carrier pigeon counter, the vole-catching apparatus, the tablet-destroying machine, the one-key typewriter or the hat-brim sewing-machine.

Rausch Collection (Frankfurt am Main)

"Remember you're going soon, see that you leave something here!" the caretaker of the Städelschule regularly reminds students. Twelve years ago, two former graduates each presented Hartmut Rausch with a work on his 50th birthday and the Rausch couple's collection of young contemporary art has been growing since then. Their living room turned into an art room; an inhabited exhibition room with a top-class collection of what now amounts to around a hundred works by students and lecturers at the State College of Fine Art in Frankfurt am Main. Through their job, the Rauschs - themselves neither art experts nor commercially interested - meet many artist personalities from all over the world; people and stories they come to know well. Established names like Ayse Erkmen, Christa Näher, Hermann Nitsch, Thomas Bayrle, Per Kirkeby or Peter Angermann are represented, but there are also many others whose names we have probably never heard before. The Rausch Collection, open and playful in a complex way, remains rooted in itself. This fundamentally distinguishes it from other art collections, which usually reflect the concrete passions and corresponding visual habits of their collectors.

Collection From Terror to Independence - Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (Riga)

In almost all Eastern and South-Eastern European countries, museums and corresponding collections oriented on contemporary history emerged in the course of only a few years to examine and analyse the history of dictatorship in the young post-Communist states. The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, founded in Riga in 1993, focuses on the influence and terror of both the National Socialist and Communist regimes on the population of the Baltic state, and on their consequences - but it also presents the opposition to occupation up until state independence in 1991. The museum considers itself a place of remembrance for those people who were persecuted, imprisoned, compulsorily deported and executed, or who perished as a result of violence, flight or desperation. A collection of expressive objects cherishes the memory of ten of thousands of Latvians who were abducted to the GULAG camps in Siberia and other far-flung areas of the USSR during the period of deportations under Stalin. The creators or owners of these objects - or those who suffered alongside them or their relatives - have placed them in the keeping of the museum. The concrete pieces of evidence not only comment on life under inhuman conditions, but also express the will to live - the will to retain dignity and humanity amidst all those horrors.

Collections Vinyl Plastics Collection and Kaekko - Hiroshi Fuji (Fukuoka)

Kaekko is an exchange market that helps children to trade with each other by collecting toys that they no longer like or use, and exchanging them for other, more desirable used toys. In the year 2000, for this purpose, Hiroshi Fuji invented the universal children's currency "Kaeru Points", a system of points using points cards, which functions without money and thus without the influence of an economically-based system of monetary values. Worthless objects attain a new value when redistributed to new owners. As a regional and social activity, a workshop, an educational programme and a permanently renewing collection, this alternative shop-keeping game - for which Hiroshi Fuji only offers his know-how and does not always have to be on the spot - can take place in museums, shopping malls, local meeting places or elsewhere, as long as there are enough enthusiastic people to help organise it. However, it can also be viewed as an attack on our economic activities.

Like the project Kaekko, which was inspired by his two daughters, the Vinyl Plastics Collection - if under unavoidable circumstances - also started at home. Because the Fuji family could no longer pay for refuse collection, they were also unable to dispose of any more garbage and were compelled to collect, separate and clean their own domestic refuse. Initially, they did this in their home and later in an unused chicken coop; the beginnings of the joint effort Domestic Waste Zero Emission. Hiroshi Fuji paid especial attention to waste products based on oil, such as snack packaging, plastic bottles or polystyrene, for he regarded these as the apparently unavoidable dark side and symbol of the late 20th century era of mass consumption in which he had grown up. When our awareness of values begins to change, the now widely distributed petroleum products will one day become symbols from a past age with rarity value. For that reason, and until then, the networker and alternative material recycler Hiroshi Fuji - together with many friends - is adding to his Vinyl Plastics Collection, whose sculptures (kites, boats, planes), furniture, clothing or bags - which he calls the "demonstrations" - are made from thousands of used plastic bottles and the like.

Russian Antennas - Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge (Berlin)

Russian soldiers once made antennas to receive radio and television broadcasts from the remains of tin and plastic, metal rods, planks, wires, string and cables. After the withdrawal of troops in the 1990s, all this was left behind as refuse. Collectors at the Werkbundarchiv dismantled the antennas in the deserted barracks around Berlin and added them to the archive's collection. Although they do not represent the technical standard of the Red Army, as emergency products, the found objects still represent the consequence of the individual privations experienced by the soldiers during their everyday life in the barracks. These relics of Soviet occupation express people's wish to listen, to participate, as powerfully as they reveal pleasure in improvisation and underline the idiocy of the political situation. The Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge, which had been located in the Martin Gropius Building since the mid 1980s, had no exhibition rooms of its own from the end of 2002 to summer 2005. For that reason, the museum - which demonstrates an incomparable self-critical reflection on the practice of collecting and cultivates a witty, yet vigilant attitude towards academia and museology - realised concrete guest commentaries and installations in various other public places.