Imaginary value

Wave Box with a story by Teddy Wayne

Significant Objects is an extraordinary project. Over the last year, they've been buying ordinary items at thrift stores and garage sales. They give these to authors like Bruce Sterling and Jonathan Lethem, who write short stories about the item. Then they put the items for sale on eBay to raise money for Girls Write Now.

There are two things I love about this project.

The first is that this means I'm not the only one who wanders around thrift stores, picks up random items and starts imagining the possible stories behind them.

The second is what this project says about people as meaning-making machines. Any of the objects on its own is just some cheap crap. Associate it the object with the project, with a charity that encourages young girls to write, with a writer and with the story that writer has written, and the object is given a meaning beyond itself. It is suddenly a significant object. Physically, it's the same cheap crap, but as Doug Kessler points out, more meaningful means more valuable.

(via The B2B Marketing Blog)