Object Obsession, Part 3: Superstition and Sentimentality
Supersense, is a book written by Bruce Hood, which explores human beings’ tendency to extend their attachment and approach to certain things and objects beyond that of reason and common sense and into the supernatural. From items belonging to famous people being more valuable or houses that were lived in by serial killers being destroyed, Supersense really examines the narrative that our brains place upon things and why we do this.
“For many collectors, however, possessing an original object fulfils a deeper need to connect with the previous owner or the person who made the item.” (Bruce Hood, Supersense, p.215)
As part of this exploration and to see if I could find some first hand evidence to support this claim, I decided to interview my friend and fellow artist Tiyana Pentland about a pair of vintage binoculars she owns.
Me: How did you come to own them?
I bought them when I went on a 2 month long trip to LA in an artist’s studio shop which was a pop up inside an amazing vintage style, whimsical bookstore called The Last Bookstore.
Me: If bought, why?
I bought them after my friend showed me a pair he owned. I love vintage knick- knacks that have no real use in my life but was torn when looking at them as to whether I should buy them, as they were pretty steep in price. What swayed me was that the shop assistant had the same name as me so I took it as a sign.
Me: Do you use them?
If using them counts as having them as part of my vintage knick- knacks display table, then yes they are in use.
Me: Do you use them for their intended purpose
I intend to in a way. They were originally used as Opera binoculars however I thought I could start to use them for gigs that I attend. I’m short sighted and perhaps at the tamer ones I can use them to see the stage better without having to wear my glasses.
Me: Do you believe in owning objects for their use only or do you believe objects have a sense of the supernatural about them?
I believe in energy waves and levels and those items have an attraction to people based on this. I do believe in supernatural attachments to items however what would sway me to own something would be my own vibe towards it. If it feels right and I believe in its personal value then I’ll invest.
Me: Do you believe the binoculars to hold some sort of supernatural aura about them that extends passed them as a functioning item?
I think the binoculars hold a historic energy rather than a supernatural one.
Me: What do you imagine their History to be?
I imagine they were owned by various people before they came into my hands and may still continue on this journey. I see them more in the context of the 1920s where an affluent young woman would have taken them to the Opera or Theatre to watch her favourite performances live. I can imagine it was a cultural escape for her during that time and I like to think that spirit is something I can identify with.
Me: What sway does this have over your feeling towards them?
I feel very connected with these binoculars. As though I was meant to be in that shop on that day to find them, especially considering the name of the sales assistant. I also know I’d have walked away with regret if I didn’t pick them up so feel like there is a clear link in energy to them.
Me: How do you feel when holding them?
I feel calm, content and fulfilled. As though my mouth has the right level of saliva and my stomach has dropped with excitement but just enough to be comfortable.
Me: What value do they have to you?
They are extremely valuable. Not because of their worth in price but because of their worth in time. Their story, both historical and my personal means to owning them, is a special one full of memories and wondering.
Me: Do you think you will keep them/pass them on/ sell them?
I will be keeping them for the foreseeable future. The only way I will pass them on will be to someone very special and deserving of them, who understands their meaning and personal value, which probably wont be until I have children of my own.
Me: Would it be imperative that their new owner has the same attachment/respect for them as you?
Yes. They’re not just an item you can throw in a drawer or leave laying around. They need to be held and appreciated and loved.
“We intuitively sense that certain objects are unique because of their intangible essence. However, such a notion is supernatural.”(Bruce Hood, Supersense, p.218)