Hoard by UK Frederick and Katie Hayne, an installation in the exhibition We Need to Talk at Belco Arts in 2023.
From Canberra to New York to the Bingie Dreaming track, Frederick & Hayne have been collecting lost hairbands for over a decade. For the first time they are displaying their collection here, referencing the archaeological lineage of the hoard. Through a provocative mass of hairbands, the work highlights the obsessive and often troubling condition of hoarding and draws attention to the vast tentacles of mass consumption in which our lives are enveloped. As an ‘untouchable’ item that no one wishes to pick up, the hairbands may be seen as a symbol of lost beauty and a broader environmental catastrophe.
Traditionally hoards comprise objects of personal, cultural or economic worth and for millennia have been a subject of intrigue and pursuit. Referencing the classical and archaeological lineage of the hoard and applying it to the context of the contemporary world, this artwork asks us to consider what we do and do not value about the things of everyday life.
By reimagining a mass of lost and re-discovered hairbands as a form of (abject) treasure the artwork challenges us to consider how value is made and assigned. The contentious perception, and misperception, of value also lies at the heart of hoarding as a modern behavioural disorder. Such compulsive collecting and keeping is often a source of tension and difficult conversation, and is a condition that can require intervention. Despite the troubling effects that contemporary hoarding may give rise to and reflect it also draws attention to the vast tentacles of mass production and consumption in which our lives are enveloped.
Hoarders may save things that others regard as waste, but in doing so they remind us of the sheer proliferation of matter that circulates. If hoarders can not, who will save the world from all this stuff? Thus, Hoard, as accumulation (noun) and behaviour (verb), asks what is it that does deserve saving? And who decides it’s worth?