Out of The Box: Tom Buchanan celebrates the lost art of collecting in a digital world

Freelance designer, artist and curator Tom Buchanan explores the objects that define artists in his new photography book-cum-research project, Out of The Box.

Technological progress is all well and good, but have we lost something as a society as we continue to turn our backs on physical objects in favour of files and downloads? Tom Buchanan certainly seems to think so, as his latest book, Out of The Box, delves into the tactile artefacts amassed by creatives all over the world.

Described as a celebration of the lost art of collecting, Out of The Box uses containers as its jumping-off point in order to pay homage to artistic hoarders. Beautifully designed by Stuart Tolley and with a written contribution from the Royal Academy of Arts' leading curator Sarah Lea, the compendium includes contributions from the likes of Kim Keever, Jan Van Schaik, Wolfgang Stiller and many more.

Expect to see an incredible array of stockpiled oddities, such as water tanks filled with aquatic abstractions, dinghies decked out with miniature cityscapes, specimen jars filled with jellyfish, an exit sign with religious imagery, over-sized burnt matchsticks, and sculptures made from plastic washed up on the beach.

According to Tom, Out of The Box features over 100 creatives from 21 countries. And it's not just professional artists he's profiled. People who live and work outside the mainstream get a look in, too, as he strives to represent the diverse array of tactile treasures scattered across the planet.

"Showcasing over 500 works, the book encapsulates diversity by way of a practice that refuses to be categorised: fine art and design, decorative and serious, artefact and artifice captured in miniature," he explains.

He adds, "The accessibility of box art, touching all aspects of our lives and our daily rituals of rationalising and organising, elicits an empathetic response. We live, arrange, watch, and rest in death in boxes, and this extraordinary book is a testament to life's absurdity and wonder."

As for the featured artists and their stories, these have been divided into four chapters based on the elements. Readers will be shown collections relating to Water, Earth and Fire throughout the book before concluding on air-themed archives.

According to Gavin Turk, Out of The Box is: "A fascinating journey into a labyrinthine world. It is an inclusive, in-depth compendium of artists' imaginations from very different walks of life."

Like what you see? You're in luck! The book, Out of The Box, is available to purchase via publisher Eight Books Ltd for £45.00 at www.8books.co.uk.


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