Friday 23 July 2010


I stumbled over the Significant Objects project recently, and was immediately fascinated.

As described on the Guardian:

In July 2009, two American cultural commentators, Rob Walker and Josh Glenn, began to buy and resell bric-a-brac at their Significant Objects store on eBay. In each listing, Significant Objects substituted the usual descriptions for a short story featuring the item, to see whether "narrative transforms insignificant objects into significant ones". The pieces were written by authors such as William Gibson, Sheila Heti, Nicholson Baker and Jonathan Lethem. Bylines accompanied each listing and bidders understood that they were only offering to pay for a shot glass or secondhand hairdryer that had served as literary inspiration. Yet, if they won, they would be buying both the gewgaw and a print-out of the story.

All the stories and objects are recorded on the Significant Objects website. Over two hundred objects have been listed, a publication has happened (or is planned - the website, while full of interest, is occasionally obscure), associated fundraisers have been held, and data has been crunched. Do I fully understand what's going on? No. Is some of it delightful? Yes and yes.

No comments: