Failed prototype for a Sculpture
Also known as The Collector (1990-1992)
Various metal parts
6 x 14 x 4 inches
A body that attracts metal by virtue of a surrounding force field produced by the motion of electrons from the positive to the negative poles (south and north).
Political in the Greek sense of polis, the city as site of sensations and conflicts whence the materials to create fictions, art and urban myths are extracted.
For an indeterminate period of time, the magnetized collector takes a daily walk through the streets and gradually builds up a coat made of any metallic residue in its path. This process goes on until the collector is completely smothered by its trophies.
–Francis Alÿs, 1992
The Collector marks a decisive moment in the work of Francis Alÿs. This action presents the street animal or urban parasite as an anonymous hero aof the resistance to modernization. The series was also the beginning of a whole methodology–that of inserting subtle myths and spreading rumors in the city through walks designed as instruments of artistic production.