Stuff: de-cluttering, upsizing, downsizing, moving on, emigrating, travelling, hoarding, re-locating, re-decorating, consuming, earning, wishing, hoping, attaching, detaching, going somewhere, going nowhere, clinging on, letting go, in-between.
In the self-storage spaces on the outskirts of most cities and towns you might be anywhere in the world, while also being nowhere. The corridors of these spaces echo with the reverberations of ‘hurried life’ and are welcome haunts to safely deposit the uncertain relationship we have with our belongings. In this globalised yet, at the same time, fragmenting world, things are complicated, unsettled and ambivalent.
The concept of self-storage expanded rapidly in 1970s America, where, to quote the industry, facilities functioned “as transitional solutions to moving, marrying or divorcing, or a death in the family.” In Ireland in the ‘90’s, especially when consumerism and rising house prices really took off, it was realised that we, too, needed our own mausoleums dedicated to storing stuff. Now, they cater for both the ‘tourists and vagabonds’ of our uncertain times, delivering a kind of Band-Aid solution to humanity on the move. These mausoleums of (at one and the same time) precious and worthless baggage offer ‘space as security and space as freedom…’ and a solution to (depending on your perspective) human nature’s sentimental attachment to belongings and memories or obsession with owning possessions. So, these are the spaces designed for our times. What will future archaeologists make of our 21st century world when these tombs are excavated?
Through photographs and stories the project has documented these spaces and the life experiences which bring people to them. 1
About the Artist
Fiona Hackett is a Dublin based photographer and researcher, who tutors part-time on the BA Photography programme at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire.