Susan Stewart, “On Longing”

the souvenir [object] both offers a measure for the normal and authenticates the experience of the viewer

The souvenir involved the displacement of attention into the past. (…) its function is to envelop the present with the past. Souvenirs are magical objects because of this transformation. Yet the magic of the souvenir is a kind of failed magic. Instrumentality replaces essence here as it does in the case of all magical objects, but this instrumentality always works on only partial transformation. The place of origin must remain unavailable in order for desire to be generated.

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