6 years ago

November 2017

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  • Rover
  • Luxury
  • Velar
  • Vehicles
  • Urban
  • Oslo
  • Experiences
  • Jaguar
  • Emissions
  • Norway
New Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrids | Why Oslo shines as a beacon of electric mobility | Uncovering Mia Suki’s unbridled passion | How Project Hero is optimising crisis response for the Austrian Red Cross | A stunning Norwegian drive in the Range Rover Velar


ESSAY B E Y O N D F A C E V A L U E Experiences that we can relate to are the stuff of aspiration. In a world in which time is short, luxury is increasingly defined by how we spend that time WORDS J A M E S W A L L M A N ILLUSTRATION A L E X W I L L I A M S O N 80

ESSAY “MODERN COLLECTORS ARE DISCOVERING THAT A SET OF PRICELESS MEMORIES CHANGES THEIR PERSPECTIVES AND LASTS A LIFETIME” Few things are as noble as collecting. The Egyptian pharaohs were, arguably, the earliest great collectors, with thousands of papyrus scrolls in their library in the port city of Alexandria. Collecting in the modern era has its origins in the “wonder-rooms” and “curiosity cabinets”of the 16th century. In 1587, a German artist called Gabriel Kaltemarckt, working for King Christian I of Saxony, laid out what he saw as the three essential elements of every collection. One, sculptures and paintings. Two, “curious items from home or abroad.” And three, “antlers, horns, claws, feathers and other things belonging to strange and curious animals.” When considering collecting, Kaltemarckt noted that natural curiosity caused our distant ancestors to go and look over the next hill. His second observation was the thrill of the hunt. Thirdly, he recognised the satisfaction of gathering. Fourthly, he saw collecting as making a statement of human power over nature. There is also a fifth reason. Collections signified that their owner had the time and resources to indulge in an activity that had nothing to do with survival. Collecting, then, is a highly evolved method of satisfying some of our most basic urges. However, science has now proven that you are more likely to find happiness if you spend your time, money and focus on experiences, not goods. And so the logical question a modern collector should ask is: what sort of experiences should I have? You don’t want to end up with a collection of mediocre memories, do you? Consider the impact that comes from attending a wedding in Marrakech, or flying into space with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic? As times have changed, so the collector’s focus has shifted too. It is now easier than ever to hunt and gather objects. This is a problem for material objects, as a key ingredient to a collectible’s value is rarity. It signifies the challenge and thrill involved in hunting and gathering. Its true meaning is missing from most dictionaries, but best explained by a concept called the “rarity principle”: the bigger the difference between the number of people who have access to something and the number of people who know about it, the rarer and more valuable the thing is. Consequently, modern collectors hunt for the ultra rare and extraordinary. This is why around 700 people, that’s around 0.00001% of the global population, have their names down to go into space with Virgin Galactic. When the first flights are ready, those first lucky passengers, who have already paid up to 0,000, will do something only a few hundred people have ever done before. First, they will take off and climb to an altitude of 47,000 feet (14.3km). And then it gets really exciting. The spaceship will turn sharply upwards and accelerate to Mach 1, 2 and finally Mach 3, taking its passengers 150,000 feet (45.7km) above the Earth, leaving them weightless, and giving them the rarest of experiences: ’that‘ view of our planet. While space is, as Captain Kirk used to say, the final frontier, it will still be there in years to come. Experiences that are fleeting, or soon to be gone, can have an even more powerful appeal. This is why an exclusive group of intrepid experience collectors has joined an expedition to see the RMS Titanic in her resting place before she disappears. A 2016 study discovered that “extremophile bacteria” could eat away what's left of the famous shipwreck within the next 15 or 20 years. In spring 2018, a small group of newly christened “Mission Specialists” will journey in a small titanium and carbon fibre submersible to the seabed where the ocean liner rests, around 12,500 feet (3.8km) below the surface of the Atlantic. The cost of the trip features a little added story and romance, and perhaps irony too. At 5,129, the cost it is about the same price, adjusting for inflation, that a first class passenger would have paid on the Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage. There are more similarly magical experiences becoming available to the dedicated collector of memories: a private plane trip across Asia with the hotelier Aman; a trip across the Antarctic by skiplane and “glacier proven”, six-wheeled trucks organised by the Bluefish concierge company; or tour operator Black Tomato’s ‘Blink’ adventures, which the company promises to only ever stage once. Many of these experiences come, by necessity, at a considerable price. However, our time on earth is equally full of valuable moments that money can't buy, from the simplicity of just relaxing on a warm sunny day and enjoying time with friends, to falling in love or having children and enjoying every single moment watching them as they grow up. There is a curious upside to this new way of collecting. Beyond the enjoyment of following one’s curiosity, the thrill of the hunt, and the satisfaction of gathering some of the most exceptional and rare experiences available today, modern collectors are discovering something else: that the end result isn’t just a trophy cabinet full of talking points that signify status, but a set of priceless memories that change their perspective and last a lifetime. James Wallman is a futurist and author. He runs the strategic advisory firm The Future Is Here, He wrote the bestselling book Stuffocation (Penguin, 2015) 81

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