The object in a pawnshop is different than the object that is sold on craigslist or put in a tag sale for quick cash. The pawned object is usually one of higher monetary and/or personal value, acting as a commodity with the possibility of new ownership and the reality of temporary ownership (as it sits in the pawnshop). It is an object in purgatory – waiting for its previous owner to decide its fate. This exhibit will explore questions such as: (1) What are the relationships that a pawnbroker develops with their collection of temporary items and (2) How do these items shift identities within the pawnshop structure?
The shifting nature of the thing at a pawnshop provides perfect illustration of thing theories that give agency to matter. The relationships between people and things at the pawnshop are based on the object in its roles as a business transaction, a temporary sacrifice and a personal connection. As the object is handed over, it acquires a new meaning and forms a new relationship.
This project seeks to explore the transient identity of the pawned items that are on hiatus in the pawnshop; between their previous owners and their potential future owners. In this online exhibition, audio-based artifact biographies will convey object meaning and agency in the pawnshop. The pawnbroker as mediator between two spaces of object ownership will be used as a narrator describing the things and telling their stories.
There is a pawnbroker in many of Dosteovekey’s novels like:
A gentle creature, Crime and Punishment and The house of the dead, …
I don’t know if it was a common occupation in 19th century russia or pawnbroking was existantially interesting for him.