Saturday, September 20, 2008

VL. Exhibiting Signification. Object choice.

What is it?
This is a kerosene lamp that produces light from burning kerosene. A wick is soaked in kerosene that is poured into the bottom part of the lamp. Then the outer edge is lit and the lamp keeps burning as long as there is kerosene in the container. This lamp can be both mounted on the wall and hand-held. The metal circle on the back can be used as a tray and as reflecting device. It reflects light and protects the wall from getting too hot.

Who needs it?
This object can be interesting for the following audiences.
-people who have no electricity (now or back in the day).
This object is a constant light source and can be used for long periods of time. Kerosene can now be replaced by environmentally-friendly oils that make a smaller impact on nature. Kerosene is still used in areas where there is no electricity.
-collectors and historians.
This lamp comes in large varieties and can be found in different sizes and shapes. Some can be seen as works of art and can be interesting if displayed in a museum space. The lamp creates a pleasant ambient atmosphere that can be appealing for many people. The older the lamp is, the more character it has and many retro-lovers can appreciate that.

I'm interested in this object because of the nostalgia that comes with it. My great grandfather and many generations before him lived in the northern part of Russia, near Archangelsk. Because of the polar night, most of the year is spent in complete darkness. The kerosene lamp was one of the few light sources back then that would allow people to live and work under such weather conditions. My grandma, who grew up in the country, had to walk 4 miles to and from school. It must have been an amazing sensation to come into a warm wooden house, heated by a stove that was probably lit by little kerosene lamps. I can almost see the dim glimmer and sense the faint smell of kerosene that was part of a lifestyle that is now history.

No comments: