Ronmel Navas


Areas of Interest
Things Ephemeral


My work asserts that the collection, in all its variative forms, is no mere sign of how we, as cultural and social beings, have come to arrange the scatter in which we find the world before us. But rather, the collection serves as a schema through which we can investigate some of the more difficult forms that frame the fact that we are apperceptive creatures to whom collecting is not only an elemental force of ordering-the-world. The collection is a profound and primary ontology that in itself reveals how change — change as the absolutely new: new phenomena and new experiences (technological, historical, and, perhaps above all, aesthetic) — occurs in orderly material and social formations. How does the new enter and accommodate itself in the world? How do these new forms rearrange the totality of the things and conditions (material and ontological) which allow for their appearance at all in the world? Under special consideration are the institutional formations of collecting (e.g., the dictionary, the encyclopedia, the library, the museum, the archive) and the more idiosyncratic formations that on some level permeate the fabric of our everyday lives (e.g., the cluttered basement as a subversion of collecting “properly,” the polyglot as collector of languages, the table of elements as a glassing in of microcosmic molecular spaces and energies, or the cemetery as a collection of souls). My project takes seriously the notion that the secret life of things is not a metaphorical life, but a real life. It is a category of life that unconceals the ontological foundations of our own impermanence in the world.