Roller Chain Spares: Object Collection II

a non-web (i.e. real) project by

Paul J.R. Brown


Press Release:
As part of The NEW Gallery's Space for Space Extravaganza, (EX 120) [120 hours of continuous uninterrupted time-based performance art, March 29th through April 2nd] the multi-media and installation artist Paul Brown will performing as taxonomist-extraordinaire in his "Roller Chain Spares: Object Collection II" project. He will be sorting and cataloguing a large volume of small post-consumer objects such as buttons, cereal box prizes, paper clips, left-over puzzle pieces, screws etc. to turn this societal detritus into a collection of sociological and monetary value.
Please help by donating the flotsam and jetsam of your life. If you haven't got the idea of what kind of objects are wanted yet, further suggestions are provided at The NEW Gallery [516D 9th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta,Canada]. Come down to the gallery starting March 27th and look at what's been collected so far. You can also help with sorting advice and object identification. Please post the attached notice on your bulletin board.


Collecting, sorting and classifying are techniques by which we humans learn about our environment. Originally nature was the focus of this work; now with a tremendous and growing societal interest in recycling it is the products of our own culture that deserve attention. This project will examine the minutia of our consumer culture through a careful sorting and cataloguing of household detritus such as buttons, ceral box prizes, paper clips, left-over puzzle pieces, screws etc. Audience participation in the form of object donation and sorting advice is very welcome.


Artist's Statement
For years I have owned a small cardboard box with metal-banded corners that measures about 2" x 1" x 1". It contains a miniature set of playing cards; but originally [judging by the label] it once contained "Roller Chain Spares". I have no idea what a "Roller Chain" is nor do I know why anyone would need to keep spares for it.
My father once told me that it belonged to his father [or grandfather perhaps]. Apparently this man always disassembled anything being thrown out and reclaimed any parts he thought might be useful. As a consequence he had a huge collection of oddments in small boxes and was able to fix just about anything that needed fixing in his house. He always had the right part or at least one that could be jury-rigged to get things working again.
A few years ago I noticed an ever-growing layer of small objects starting to grow in our house. It was rather like the detritus carried up onto a beach by waves and then left as the tide recedes. I think the mechanism of deposition must also be similar [using people - mostly children - in place of waves]. I gathered all these objects and organized them in little cabinets with multiple drawers. Together with a simple computer catalog of the objects, they were used in a static artwork.
This time I intend to make a similar project into a performance piece that will be part of the Space for Space Extravaganza 120 project at The NEW Gallery. This time the sorting will take place on site. At the beginning of the show I will set up a sorting table with trays, cabinets, boxes, jars, envelopes etc. and supplies to label and catalogue objects. I will bring several boxes containing unsorted flotsam and jetsam that with the help of assistants and anyone else who cares to lend a hand will be turned into a useful and valuable collection. Donations of objects will be gratefully accepted.
At any time the collection will be available for inspection even if the official sorting crew is not on site. Based on the effect my last collection project I think you will find many objects that will spark your interest and trigger many long-forgotten memories.
And... hopefully... by the end of the show, everything will be sorted.


Object Donation Box - available now at The New Gallery
General rules:


Object suggestions:

buttons, paper clips, push pins, used stamps, thumb tacks, cereal box prizes, puzzle pieces, coins, screws, curtain rings, Barbie doll shoes and accessories, vampire teeth, beads, cherry pits (boiled), plastic flowers, Remembrance Day poppies, miniature tops, pull tabs, calculator batteries, popsicle sticks, collector cards, resistors, transistors, googlie eyes, hair pins, lego blocks, playing cards, tokens, used ticket stubs, ribbons, elastic bands, pencil stubs, springs, knitting needle gauges, door-bell push buttons, used postcards, cut-flower stem-protectors, broken jewellery, wheels from toy cars, single earrings, drink tickets you forgot to redeem, small unidentifiable plastic thingumajigs, dog hair, balloon clamps, marbles, ball-bearings, nuts and bolts, drawer knobs, hooks, weights, arc lamp rods, straps, door stops, film canisters, BNC connectors, bottle caps, milk jug tops, cupboard hardware, hinges, corks, museum entrance tags, safety pins, silica gel packets, bubble gum comics, miniature light bulbs, Popeye pipes, tape cutters, pull chains, lite-brite pegs, fuses, electrical socket protector plugs, wing nuts, computer chips, locks, keys etc., etc., etc.


Please email me via if you have further suggestions so that I may include them in the list.



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