Imagined Provenance: The Cabinet of Richard J. Pennington is the story of an eccentric collector and his collection of trash objects, all situated within the frame of his familial relations. The meta-narrative follows the Richard J. Pennington around North America as he collects objects and divines their origins. The individual object’s narratives are further expanded online and accessed through QR codes printed in the book. The links in the book provide online interactive catalogue data, mimicking traditional and contemporary methods of cataloguing objects and art, further expanding upon the objects’ provenience and provenance.
The book questions both the symbolic and monetary value that the act of collecting has the ability to fabricate. By mimicking historical and contemporary collection techniques, provenance documentation, and cataloguing methods, the book calls into question the role of the collector and the institution in the creation of both truth and value.
The key concerns that emerge from this exploration of collection and value revolve around the concept of value and truth as constructed.