Where Things Live.
The Self-Storage Phenomenon
Wien Museum, Musa Startgalerie
– 7 April 2019
It isn’t just museums that are places of collecting. In the course of our lives, each and every one of us accumulates objects which have more or less emotional value for us, and that we find it hard to get rid of. The average European household today contains around 10,000 objects, compared with around 200 a 100 years ago. In Vienna, the use of rentable storage units is increasing and this exhibition puts such social developments into context.
In the Stone Age, we hunted and gathered to survive. Thanks to this way of life we can now look back on a long history of humankind. In some aspects of life, hunting and collecting in a metaphorical sense can also be seen as a popular pastime today. Against a background of widespread consumerism and burgeoning minimalist movements, the meaning of the things that accompany our lives is constantly being questioned. Using the theme of self-storage units, the exhibition in the Musa Startgalerie of the Wien Museum focuses on lack of space, how we deal with it and to what extent our relationship to objects is influenced by it. The business model of rentable self-storage units was developed in the USA as early as the 1960s and is now increasingly widespread in Europe. The first storage units in Vienna were available to rent 20 years ago, and demand has been rising rapidly ever since. The exhibition examines the origins of this interest in them and interprets the phenomenon with regard to future scenarios of urban development and lifestyle needs.
In the exhibition, Viennese residents talk about how and why they rent storage units for all sorts of purposes – from family archives to extra wardrobe space.
A small but impressive show as a space for contemporary reflection on collecting and throwing away things.