Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Timing of an Acquisition



King Brand Vintage Hand Can/ Bottle Opener 

The timing of an acquisition depends on the purchase or availability of an object for the collection. Using the Can Opener Collection as an example of the process of acquiring new additions, I intend to recount my experiences. These experiences include receiving an object as a gift, an online purchase of an object, and the documentation of an object at a site-specific location of a luncheonette. These three examples have different stages of timing in forming the May 2012 recent additions for the Can Opener Collection.
            The first object to be acquired for the May 2012 recent additions was the King brand vintage hand can/ bottle opener. This can opener was a gift to the collection by an acquaintance that was cleaning out a family member’s house. In receiving this gift there was also a dialog over how this object would be used towards the collection. The acquaintance was under the impression I was collecting the can openers as a singular object form. I clarified the can opener collections objective by referencing the video clips of the interaction between the person and the object. The acquaintance didn’t want the vintage can opener back nor did they know how to operate it. Since January 2012 I have been practicing using the vintage can opener before I felt comfortable enough to document the interaction. With this acquisition I needed to spend time understanding how the object functioned as well as obtaining other acquisitions in order to present more than one new addition.
            My research over the winter of 2012 has made me consider the punch style can opener to be included in the collections new additions. I have been looking to purchase either a wooden handle punch or the stainless steel punch and cover for canned milk. These two styles are specialized for opening can milk and require a different form of physical interaction than the punch and bottle opener that was documented in the November 2011 addition of the Can Opener Collection.  The timing of this acquisition has been involved with attendance at flea markets and observing online auction sites. Recently, I have found a Moeller punch and cover on an online site and the starting bid and shipping was within the means of the collection’s budget.  The punch and cover has a more direct method of use than the gifted King brand vintage hand can/ bottle opener and I spent less time in practice with the object.
            The third acquisition did not require me to practice or have the knowledge to use the object. Documentation of a table mounted can opener was obtained with permission from a local luncheonette owner. The timing for this segment of the addition was in scheduling and planning for the performance of the interaction in a site-specific location. Taking into consideration a desire to communicate the collection’s aesthetics and respecting the time guidelines of the business, the process to acquire a video clip of the industrial style can opener was realized. 
            These three experiences of acquiring recent additions have demonstrated the collections management aspect for the collections as a whole. They include management of singular objects and site-specific documentation. The majority of the collection (which is the video portion) only entails the use of the object for documentation of the interaction. After that, the object is no longer needed in the collection. These objects that are acquired by gifting or purchasing will be resold and the funds will be placed in the budget for future collecting needs. In the case of the acquaintance gifting the vintage can opener, the acquaintance had no interest in the object and was more interested in supporting the collections project.
            In a very similar process, with the site-specific acquisition, the owner of the luncheonette had an interest in the collections. The dialog with the luncheonette owner went beyond the basic concepts of the collections. For the practice of site-specific documentation a model and object release form is utilized to clarify the video clip presentation for public viewing  (internet & future public institutions). The release form is the written arrangement and understanding of the participant’s performance and use of their object to the collection. Having formed these collections management practices in the early stages of the collecting process will offer future options for allocations and presenting the collections in a professional manner.
            I referred to Susan Pearce’s archaeological curatorship methods with the use of the Coupon Collection in the Defining A Collection blog (January 17, 2012). This blog outlines the beginnings of my activities of archiving and management of a collection obtained through a public print media source. Considering the video aspect of the collection is in the beginning stages of including outside participants, I am in the revising stages of the video clip archiving cards.
            These management practices have brought my attention to include additional detailed information on the archiving cards. The image accompanying the Considering the Accumulation blog (March 25, 2012) is a sample of a video clip archiving card. Along with the video clip number and description of the object in the video, I will include the information of the location of the video (studio shot or site-specific) and how the object was obtained (purchased or gifted). The detailed information for each clip will be notated on an individual basis, since some of the documentation of objects will contain more background information than others.  

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