Collectors’ Favorites is an episode of local cable program from the mid-1990s in which ordinary people were invited to present their personal collections—a concept that in many ways anticipates current reality TV shows and internet videos. When it comes her turn to “perform,” Bornstein displays mundane and disposable—but elaborately archived or framed—consumer objects such as coffee lids, plastic straws, candy wrappers, and product labels. Through the medium of public broadcasting, then, she makes visual the frequently overlooked but massive cultural penetration of advertising, and its proliferation of “throwaway culture” via images. Further, Bornstein suggests that within a massive and mercurial social network that often places value arbitrarily, any worthless mass-market products can be turned into coveted objects via absurd relations and vice versa.
Jennifer Bornstein’s works range from performance, conceptual photography, film, drawing, and
etchings to curatorial practice. By foregrounding the self-constructed nature of narrative and subjectivity, Bornstein’s practice is a constant rethinking of relations, both social and historical—but not so much in terms of negation and rupture, but rather connection, mutuality, and reintegration.