Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
Every item you’ve ever come across has a story. These objects clutter our shelves, closets, garages and lives; they sit and collect dust until one day we drop them on the 2-for-1 table at a yard sale, or for the more ambitious among us, to that great virtual flee market called eBay. Weathered, chipped and forgotten, the memories that helped shape the object are often lost forever, free to move on to the next owner as just another kitschy find. That’s where Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn come in.
The premise of their project, Significant Objects, is to take thrifted items and pair them with a writer to give it a new value in the form of a short story. Six-word memoirists and otherwise quite noted writers Ben Greenman, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Kurt Anderson are among the many star contributors, along with the likes of Luc Sante, Lucinda Rosenfeld, and Matthew Sharpe. Once united, the items along with their newly spun histories go up for sale on eBay to determine just how valuable the new story makes the object. Let’s call it auction as art installation. The winning bid gets the newly sentimentalized object, along with a printed copy of the story. You might find your own significant object in the bunch. And you’ll have a great story to tell about how it came into your life.