056 (MELON?)

July 16th, 2015


A nice mix of specificity and disconcerting vagueness.

What seems at first to be particularly healthy, what with its fruit and benecol, then veers towards organic brand names and cheapish beers with a few intriguing question marks along the way.

The pedant in me would expect anyone who plans so meticulously their brand of peanut butter (what’s wrong with Sun-Pat?) to know that the ham has Parma in Italy as its Denominazione di origine proteta.

It then ends with another metaphorical question mark, in terms of type of juice needed.

I’m pretty sure it would have been organic, whatever flavour.

055 (BOGGY)

July 16th, 2015


Another list with multiple authors.

Another with items crossed out.

Another bundle of contradictions.

What stands out most on here is actually its title.

It should be quite self explanatory that this should be a shopping list, quite why the authors needed to write this in again is beyond me, perhaps it was drummed into them by their English teachers that every page needed a title? This idea is heightened by their care to spell chewing gum correctly: a self-fulfilling prophecy, then, that I, who do the same, should serendipiditously retrieve and write about this list.

The list itself contains a wide range of products, going from the sublime (high end goods such as butternut squash) to the quite ridiculous – I have an idea of what boggy is, nor basta, and whilst some ingredients seem suitable for an OAP, others we assume are for babies, especially the ones written in the younger looking and more feminine manuscript. Meanwhile, others are pretty much illegible.

But at least we know it’s part of a shopping list.

054 (TOM)

July 16th, 2015


A strange, minimalist, combination of items: one food, one toiletry, one confectionery.
Again, the notions of memory resonate, and the difficulty of remembering three items. Sesame Street reminds me most days, that even a child can recall three things when on an errand, what with its classic animation, I can remember:

Without wanting to slight anyone with amnesia or worse, surely the author could have remembered these three things, or not wasted paper and instead written them on their hand as I would have done in this situation, especially with the surreal mix of products…

I don’t really understand the link between them: maybe I’ve got the abbreviations wrong, and it’s simply a reminder that Tom has an interview so needs to smell nice in preparation.

053 (LEMONS X 2)

July 16th, 2015


I like that this list is colourful, it makes a nice change from the boring white or lined paper that seem to be most common amongst Sefton’s shoppers.

This list interests me most not because of the still quite interesting contents – it looks like a Mediterranean roast might be on the menu – but more so for the extravagance of the paper it’s written on and also what isn’t on the list.

I once did a performance at a gallery partly inspired by Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning drawing, in which I rubbed out some of the drawings I had done as a young boy.


Star Wars, Rambo, A-Team characters , all of which now exist only as grooves in thirty-year-old pieces of paper where pencil once sat thanks to that intervention on the theme of Demolition.

As B develops her mark-making skills at a fast rate, I wonder if she will be doing something similar in a few years, when space allows I will keep her scrawlings just in case. Talking of female artists, Sophie Calle once did a project involving eating things of the things of one colour each day of the week, entitled The Chromatic Diet.

I tell you all of this because the omissions contradict the usual process. A shopping list is, by definition, an aide memoire and normally discarded only once it’s served its purpose: it is unusual to see things crossed out seemingly before the shopping trip takes place.

I wonder why certain ingredients on this list – what looks like avocado, broccoli, cauliflower and peas – were suddenly not needed that day.

Were they bought somewhere else?

Was there a last minute change of heart – or taste?

For someone seemingly into their colours, this list appears quite anti-green vegetables.

Maybe it was Sophie Calle’s list, written on a Thursday.


July 16th, 2015


Sometimes, a list can almost too good to be true.

This person had ripped it up into four pieces, and I painstakingly reunited the fragments as carefully as Nino Quincampoix in Amelie when he carefully solves the puzzles within discarded passport photographs.

I suppose that’s what this project is all about – and every project I’ve done over the years which relates to collections and categorisation – trying to answer a question, to unravel a mystery, to understand and remember…

Going back to the list, though: why had they – she, I’d assume – ripped it up?

Perhaps she wasn’t expecting the meal, what looks like a delicious Thai curry, to go well. Hence the smoke alarms being on the list, too, in case they are also an essential part of the recipe.