• 07.09.09

One Man’s Junk Is a Storyteller’s Treasure

In his monologue that closes out the industrial design film Objectified, reviewed here back in March, it’s clear that columnist and author Rob Walker is perplexed by our obsession with material culture.


Turns out Walker was pondering these issues long before Gary Hustwit’s camera was focused on him–writing the book Buying In, he started toying with ways to make objects worth more. “While doing the book I was thinking a lot about what makes a thing matter, and I sort of end the book on the idea that it has more to do with personal narrative than anything else–the meaning comes from us, not the object,” he says. “So that led to ‘Well, what if you made up a narrative, or got great fiction writers to do so?'”


But here’s the real beauty of the project: These objects, along with their stories, are also being auctioned on eBay. And they’re selling! A rather frightening cow creamer with a dark past has 12 bids. “It’s still essentially a fun art project,” says Walker. “But I do think it ends up making people think about value and objects in a new way.”


Related Stories:
‘Objectified’ Review: A Hurricane of Consumer Values

About the author

Alissa is a design writer for publications like Fast Company, GOOD and Dwell who can most often be found in Los Angeles. She likes to walk, ride the bus, and eat gelato.