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Posts tagged ‘万物库 10000 Item Treasury’

失物 022:家作坊“语音导览”小白猪形mp3放音机

Lost Object No. 022: HomeShop “Audio Tour” white pig-shaped mp3 player
Discovered Missing: approximately 2-3 months ago
Location: HomeShop (Jiaodaokou Beiertiao 8)

失物 023:《罗尔娜的沉默》DVD,最后被“万物库”成员Grayson REIM借出去(已还过)

Lost Object No. 023: Le Silence de Lorna DVD, last borrowed and returned by library member Grayson REIM
Discovered Missing: approximately one month ago
Location: HomeShop “Ten Thousand Item Treasury” (Jiaodaokou Beiertiao 8)

失物 024:黑色尼龙电脑包,里面内容包括:1本书(苏珊·桑塔格的《论摄影》)、一堆名片、1个红白蓝笔记本套(里面很多发票)、3本笔记簿(2本无印良品单环A4本子、一小本方格纸本子)、1个灰毛毡眼睛套、太阳眼睛、眼睛擦布、1套白色耳机、1个蓝色笔套(里面各种笔)、白/蓝色药品

Found Object No. 024: black nylon computer case, inside contents containing 1 book (On Photography by Susan Sontag), various business cards, one red/white/blue plaid laptop sleeve with many receipts, 3 notebooks (2 Muji spiral notebooks, one smaller printed cover one with graph paper), 1 grey felt pouch with sunglasses and cleaning cloth, white earphones, blue zip pencil case with various writing utensils, 1 white/blue capsule prescription medicine
Found Date: 8 December 2012, morning
Location: Jiaodaokou Beiertiao, on top of Song brother number three’s motorbike


如果您要收回家作坊失物招领处的任何物品,或者有关于这些物品所有者的信息,请跟我们联系Please contact HomeShop if you would like to reclaim any lost & found item or have information regarding the owner of these items.
《革命将至 L’insurrection qui vient》, donated by 蔡凯 CAI Kai

Recent acquisitions inadvertently parallel other discussions we’ve been having lately, or trying to have, a discussion about the discussion. Sometimes things feel a bit removed, like translators talking about translation, and either we get so entrenched in our own discourses that we never reach consensus, or we play multimedia-like because we cannot escape certain distancing from ourselves.

The Anarchist Cookbook》, donated by 蔡凯 CAI Kai

After a long split, the anarchists find one another again in commiseration for their loneliness.

《香港投诉合唱团 Complaints Choir of Hong Kong》, donated by 麦巅 MAI Dian  (By coincidence, view the first mainland edition in the form of the “北京有机农夫市集吐槽歌会第一波 Beijing Organic Farmers’ Market Spitting Trough Singing Party“, premiering Saturday, 26 November)

There is a triangle here, let’s not call it love just yet, between art and language and activism—one moving each through another—but we have yet to place our subjectivities within them, even if we could say that it is our intention to implicate every stage of an aesthetico-political engagement. But here, in a system where all negotiations have been cut, “what kind of association is enough?” To 上访, to self-immolate or to break out in violence are not so much about negotiation as much as flailing demonstration, so it becomes difficult to see the usefulness of an explanation of the systemics at work, and how many people does the activist have to convince anyway before we could find ourselves on even ground?

I am not sure I know how to how politics,” the artist tells the poet. We lose ourselves in μετά. Translation and translation and translation, activism cannot escape its traps, art indulges. And yet, in commiseration for our loneliness, he mumbles quietly to me today, “我们的本地文化是什么?” Yes, we had lost ourselves over assertions, growing nations, a new space. So I’m wondering if we can go back to simple observations again, the concrete of “the good life”, another consideration of locality. Productivity (…art and language and activism…) is difficult amidst rough re-identification, but we’re thrown again, teenage angst, the revelation of freedom. The results are not external to good will, or the intention in aiming, but as the old saying goes: “Do what you must, come what may.”

木扇 wooden fan, donated by Fotini LAZARIDOU-HATZIGOGA

Even if you don’t understand my writing, the above pictured objects and less than 10,000 other items are available for lending from the HomeShop library/10,000 Item Treasury. Please drop by to browse the collection.

HomeShop opened its library
to the public this summer. Although its collection comprises “not-yet 10,000 items,” the moment had already arrived for questions about the content, triggering a conversation that I joined the other day in HomeShop’s front space, on the issues of inclusion and exclusion.

As the library grows mostly through donations from friends and neighbors, certain patterns gradually emerge: all the books someone couldn’t take with them, some flea market novelties, something that “might come in handy.” To host anything, or hypothetically everything, would mean all the “bad” as well. Bad in the case of a library means the superfluous, the unhelpful, maybe the hateful; from another perspective, one never knows who will value what in a public library, and cutting away the inessential means cutting away part of a potential public. The central ambiguity of any archive lies on these fissures between values. This is also dependent on the reality of passing time, by which bad qualities are outlasted as a generation shifts and becomes other to itself; however, this process is most apparent in archives proper as opposed to libraries (who, in the future, will honestly cherish all of the pulp novels as books, as opposed to documents? Or do they, even at present?). One can then imagine, as did Jorge Luis Borges, a Babylonian library comprising all that was and is, in effect re-constructing the universe in type, a disorienting and endless universe in which we all dwell.

But of course other hard realities emerge to rebut this imaginary, unlimited possibility: space and order. HomeShop’s shelves are small, but not yet full. The intention of our conversation to edit the inventory—resulting, ironically, in only one or two withdrawals—therefore compromised on a discussion of what inclusion and exclusion mean. As an independent project initiated by individuals (namely, Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga and Elaine W. Ho), whose nurturing is guided by particular investments rather than indifference, the HomeShop Library recalls Walter Benjamin’s words: “But one thing should be noted: the phenomenon of collecting loses its meaning as it loses its personal owner. Even though public collections may be less objectionable socially and more useful academically than private collections, the objects get their due only in the latter.”(1) But with its simple principle of acquisition and circulation based on personal relations, the HomeShop collection becomes a living and metabolic portrait of a community, complicating the possessive fondness of Benjamin’s ideal bourgeois collector.

The ordering methodology can be recognized as not as rigid or as rigorous as that of Beijing’s National Library of China, though it shares the Chinese Library Classification system’s categorizations (starting, of course, with Marx & Mao, passing next through religion and philosophy, proceeding to the hard sciences at the bottom/base). But where the State institution speaks the language of publicness with its vast architectural spaces and purportedly unparalleled collection, the State’s very ordering protocols eliminate even the imaginary possibility of housing the universe on its shelves, where this could at least be a fantasy in HomeShop’s case. (A review of the oddities in the not unimpressive foreign languages section at the National Library is enough to wonder what is the basis for their acquisitions; recommendations are not invited, I was told.) The universe, after all, is composed of many, many small and particular things, not just the mapped planets and giant balls of gas. Even without space, attentiveness and affect define an alternative order of ordering. As the Indian archival project Pad.ma points out: “To not wait for the archive is often a practical response to the absence of archives or organized collections in many parts of the world. It also suggests that to wait for the state archive, or to otherwise wait to be archived, may not be a healthy option.”(2)

One pertinent irony of our contemporary media-saturated world is the State’s inability to accommodate the histories that make up the most intimate (ie. unofficial) parts of people’s lives, which actually make up the majority of all stories. But is the ambition of the (art) project to recover all lost histories, to pursue the exhaustion of this chaotic universe on its shelves? And do we hope that the State eventually takes up the pursuit of accounting for this breadth of experience? But isn’t it true that they already do to some extent, through the surveillance of all of our movements and stockpiling of all of our utterances? The gap exposed is therefore not the abyss of quantities, but the ground on which qualities are encouraged to develop. HomeShop’s library, emphasizing the knowledge and feeling that flow from individuals and can be borrowed—social exchanges, that is to say—hosts a potential to reflect the library as a universe despite or rather because of its modesty, its ethics-under-development. That said, at the end of our afternoon crusade of book-purging, we finally had to put off the decision of what to cut, until some other moment in the future.

Michael Eddy

The HomeShop Library is open daily for browsing and for borrowing. Please come by.

(A Chinese version of this text to appear in upcoming issue of Yishu Shijie Magazine / 中国版的这段文字会出现在“艺术世界”杂志。)

1. Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking my library” in Illuminations
2. From Pad.ma’s “10 Theses on the Archive.” Visit Pad.ma’s alternative video archive: http://pad.ma/


I’m Abu, and on May 9th, 2011, I borrowed from HomeShop a blank white notebook for a duration of two years. In these two years I would like to fill in the contents of the notebook, a part of which will be based upon specific conversations carried out with members of HomeShop.


HomeShop Library opening
Saturday, 18 June 2011 (all day long)

在交道口北二条的家作坊开幕将近半年之后的今天,我们渐渐地尝试另一种类型的开幕式,这不是一个庆祝大事件的活动,而是一种对很多平凡日子中的某一天的理 解形式。谁说数量不重要?万物库自家作坊开幕时就已经悄悄存在了,虽并没有适当的头衔或组织形式去赋予它价值,这些物品只是贮存了起来,而经历了六个月, 我们可以站在这个小角落之外足够“自豪”地(傻傻地)说一个系统已经存在,或者至少是一个使得它可以提供服务的组织形式。





  • 浏览没到一万件物品,包括文学、电影、小设备及更多
  • 全天图书制作工作坊
  • 免费赠送万物库会员专属的由丝网印刷的手帕,可以用来擦嘴或眼泪(送完为止)
  • 下午六点开始一个特别的中文“快乐朋友阅读小组”将一起讨论关于博尔赫斯《巴别图书馆》的阅读体验[下载文件:中文英文,第28到32页|西班牙语,第38到42页]

Almost exactly half a year after the opening of HomeShop at Jiaodaokou Beiertiao, we venture mildly into another opening of sorts, one which declares itself not to mark the event but as a form of understanding the many amidst a few. Who said quantity does not matter? The HomeShop library has existed quietly since our first days here, without proper titling or forms of organisation to lend it the sense of value that archives tend to garner, and now in our sixth month we can stand back proudly—nerdily—from this diminuitive corner enough to say that an operation exists, or at least an attempted form of organisation that allows itself as an offering. The collection could be about some supposed form of traced ownership (we attempt to label the provenance of each item), and this suggests a different attitude towards collectivity that may go beyond mere expansion towards other forms of gift and exchange.

Who said quantity doesn’t matter? If you donate three items to the library, of a nature including books, tools or other media useful and of interest to a larger public, you will be entitled to join as a library member for lending other items from the collection. Loans can thus be made for flexible periods spanning a few days up to a few years, depending upon the nature of the item and your need. Quantity, or time, matters.

In conjunction with this announcement, the library will be open for your perusal and lending, as it has been already, though perhaps certain aspects of organisation will be made clear where they were less so before. There is a question as to whether this serves to facilitate or deter from participation, as should be asked of all our social forms in general, so thus let this Saturday serve as one experiment among the many.

Activities for your perusal and participation:

  • browse the collection of not yet 10,000 items, including literature, film, small devices and more
  • book-making workshop (all day long, drop in anytime)
  • free giveaway of library members’ hand silk-screened handkerchiefs for wiping your mouth or your tears (while supplies last)
  • at 6 p.m. a special Chinese language Happy Friends Reading Group session will discuss Jorge Luis Borges “The Library of Babel” [download here in Chinese | English, see pp. 28-32 | Spanish, see pp. 38-42]


“快乐朋友阅读小组”由Michael EDDY (长期), 何颖雅和伊莲主办。万物库由何颖雅和Fotini LAZARIDOU-HATZIGOGA发起,由王尘尘组织和支持。感谢Annie SHAW提出图书馆思想的好灵感。
This session of the Happy Friends Reading Group is co-hosted by Michael EDDY (long-distance), 何颖雅 Elaine W. HO and 伊莲 Desireè MARIANINI. The HomeShop library is an initiative of 何颖雅 Elaine W. HO and Fotini LAZARIDOU-HATZIGOGA, managed and supported by 王尘尘 Cici WANG. Thank you to Annie SHAW for bibliothesque inspiration.