The objects I display are worthless: isolated, they contain no material value, nor significant historical or cultural worth. However, when I embed these objects with fictional narratives that hark back to ancient histories, they are immediately elevated in status. These objects, which I have dug up or found laying on barn floors, are ‘worthless’ in the conventional sense. But one thing they do have is a history that is accessible: I have physically brought these old, forgotten objects from one context and put them in another. As of yet, I am not able to do that with my more distant genealogical links on the Silk Road.
The one problem that is still inherent with the objects I collect – as much as it would be with an ancient artefact – is that although I have physical and immediate historical access to the objects I gather, their use-values are unknown to me. I may know what they are or what they are really for, but their uses serve no purpose for me as a twenty-first century artist. So although their material weight and geographical context is fixed, their narratives and uses are lost to me. This is the crux – the lacunae – in which I am able to weave in the story of the Silk Road.