"Door to Door" by Alice Stone Collins"
Alice Stone Collins
When we moved into our house in New Albany, Indiana during the summer of 2009, it took me at least six times of making the drive to a local Target without the need of my MapQuest directions. Going on jogs around the neighborhood, it took me six months, before learning the names of a few of my neighbors. Three years later, I am still learning their names.
While I didn’t know many of their names, I did know if they recycled and what they had for dinner. I knew if they bought the name brand or generic brand of cereal. I knew if there were drinkers and could speculate just how heavy. I could establish their political affiliations and just how strident. I could tell what cable provider they used and if they had kids or if they were cat or dog people. Sometimes, in passing, we would even wave to each other.
The rapid pace and increased responsibilities of modern life constantly draw us outside of our local communities. In this push and pull, we compile an abundance of “stuff” that might tell our stories more than anything else we communicate. In my own work and life, I keep returning to these questions of accumulation, need, and identity.
How do the choices we make, consumer and otherwise, shape our environment? What is the relationship between consumer goods and self-esteem? How does one carve and create a meaningful life in a society concerned mostly with meaningful purchases? Can one find what is beautiful and what is true and while searching for a 64-inch HD plasma TV on Black Friday?
These issues and questions of community and consumption continue to shape my work, especially in light of being a parent. In thinking about future generations, I believe art should leave a record for other generations to question, measure, and explore.
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