Significant Objects by Rob Walker & Joshua Glenn

Significant Objects by Rob Walker & Joshua Glenn

Sarah Rainwater
Jul 23, 2009

For Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn's latest project, Significant Objects, they find inexpensive collectibles at thrift stores and garage sales and match them with writers who write a fictional story about each object. The item and the story are then posted on eBay for anyone to bid on, sometimes fetching 10 times what was originally paid (according to their website, they've made $247.30 to date)...

The story about the spotted dogs above by Curtis Sittenfeld actually made our heart skip a beat and made us seriously consider whether a good story really can turn trash into treasure?

For anyone who has ever felt conflicted while standing over the "to donate" box, trying to decide whether the sentimental value of a certain object outweighs the desire not to go down the slippery slope of collecting pet decor, the answer is probably an emphatic "yes." And for anyone else, look only to advertising's ability to sell us millions of things we may or may not need by harnessing the power of a good story.

Robert Walker and Joshua Glenn happen to be experts on the topic of consumers' relationships with inanimate objects. Walker wrote Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are and writes the "Consumed" column for the New York Times and Glenn wrote Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance.

To read Curtis Sittenfeld's story about the spotted dogs above or place a bid on them, click here to go to the eBay listing. To find out more about the project, visit Significant Objects.

Do you own any treasures (or what some might call trash) with great stories behind them?

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