The well-worn but faithful drawers of the ICI’s Ephemera Kabinett.
We call the material contained in these drawers ephemera because by they time it comes to us its initial purpose has expired; someone has decided to discard the object (or if we’re lucky, has decided to donate it to us). Although we can experience the objects in each drawer—we can see their ‘image,’ feel their contours, sometimes smell or hear their sound— they rarely provide evidence of the institutions, machines, or people who brought them to form. These objects have constructed their own history, a narrative that changes from day to day, from culture to culture.
We call the container of this ephemera a Kabinett to evoke the tradition of the Kunstkabinett and the Klutterkabinett, archives that exists to please themselves.