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Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?

An illustrator's catalog of daily purchases

by Laura Neilson in Culture on 16 April 2010

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Now available in book format, "Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?" is artist Kate Bingaman-Burt's winsomely self-conscious take on transparency and consumer culture. Beginning in 2002, in the face of growing credit card debt, Bingaman-Burt resolved to give new meaning to the term "retail therapy" by documenting her daily purchases, first with photographs and then with ink drawings.

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The book chronicles three years of daily purchases, beginning on 5 February 2006. From the mundane (Tootsie Roll candies, pet food, Aleve pain reliever) to the more memorable (an iPhone, wedding bands, a dog), each image lends a permanence to the sometimes fleeting fulfillment that comes from the experience of buying something. To make her commentary—and spending patterns—an even more lasting and public record, Bingaman-Burt also includes monthly hand-copied credit card statements within the pages of the book.

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Bingaman-Burt, who is an assistant professor of graphic design at Portland State University continues to catalog and post her Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design."

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Buy Obsessive Consumption online at Amazon, Powell's, or directly through Bingaman-Burt's website, where she's offering a limited-edition daily drawing and book package for $30.

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