There are lots of fatalistic questions that we all think about on occasion, but that most people, if they’re lucky, never have to answer in real life: What would your last meal be? Who is the one person you’d choose to live with if you were stuck on a desert island for the rest of your life? What things would you choose to take from your home if it were burning down around you? An intriguing new photography project, The Burning House, asks people to submit visual answers to that last question, along with a brief profile of themselves and a description of the things they chose to “take.”
The result is a cross-section of how different people’s possessions affect their lives and an interesting look at what, when it comes down to it, is important. The meticulously-arranged bundles of objects convey a sense of how what we have speaks to who we are…and also how it doesn’t. For example, would you have guessed that the things in the last photo belong to a 40-year-old guy from Maine? Nice skirt, buddy.
With that said, it’s also kind of funny to think about the fact that most of the people who submit these lists probably spend waaay more time carefully selecting each thing on them than they’d actually have if an actual fire took place. Some also just try to take too much, like in that last photo. The person, a 29-year-old woman from New York City, has got to be kidding me. Yeah, that Ursa Major bag is big, but you’re crazy if you think you can fit those two framed pictures in there and then pile all that other stuff on top, lady.
I’m really not one to talk, though. At least she’s got some idea of what to take! If I were given five minutes to grab the most important things I own, I’d definitely crack under the pressure of figuring it out and rescue all the wrong things. I’d probably end up standing on the sidewalk with the scrambled contents of my desk hoping I got something important, only to find receipts from Duane Reade, scratched-up old CDs, and a discarded pair of 3-D glasses. Wow, I really hope my apartment never burns down. I know you guys would save your Мишка gear first, but what else do you think you couldn’t part with?- Pukelear Reactor