Neil Boorman will burn all his branded possessions in a London warehouse on the 26th of August. Here's what he has to say about it:
On 26.08.06, I am going to gather every branded possession of mine into a warehouse, douse them with petrol and burn the lot. Jacobson chairs, Christian Dior shirts, a Louis Vuitton bag; I'm too frightened to calculate the financial cost of this action, but I know
it's a lot. Far more unsettling than the money is the emotional cost I'm going to suffer. You see, It's not simply a pile of expensive clothes and accessories going on the bonfire, Neil Boorman is being destroyed too.
Until recently, I thought I knew who Neil Boorman was. I felt sure how the outside world regarded me because I had spent a fair amount of time engineering an image. I found the best way to understand and articulate 'me' was through the owning and displaying of things made by brands. They provided a source of comfort, a reassurance of my own self worth, they project my identity to others around me.
Frustratingly, this attempt at branded self-identity has been accompanied with a numbed sense of dissatisfaction. Attempting to cure myself, I have sought comfort and reassurance by buying yet more branded goods, treating myself 'because I'm worth it'. I now understand that this behavior only made matters worse. For all the time and money I have devoted to collecting these brands, these symbols of self, I have absolutely no idea who I am. For every new material extension of my character, I become more distant from the person than I really am.
The reality however is only just becoming clear; with every new emblem of identity I add to my collection, I lose a piece of myself to the brands. They cannot reciprocate the love I give. They cannot transport me to the places I'm promised exist. I am not, nor will I ever be remotely similar to the people that appear in their ads. It is a lie, a lie I have believed in for too long.
I had a similar kind of feeling after reading this as I did when I watched Xmen 3. In the case of Xmen 3 I was thinking "why didn't Wolverine stab Storm with some of the same stuff he stabbed Magneto with?" whereas in the case of Neil Boorman's Brand Bonfire I wonder why he doesn't find a new home for each of his branded items with someone who really needs them rather than burning them in a London warehouse - which surely isn't good for the environment for one thing?