debbie millman

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Visual Story about a Significant Object


I am thrilled to announce that New York Times Columnist (and author of one of my favorite books on branding) Rob Walker invited me to join him and project partner Joshua Glenn to participate in their Significant Objects project. Paraphrased from their website, the task is as follows: invite a writer to invent a story about an object. Invested with new significance by this fiction, the object should -- according to their hypothesis -- acquire not merely subjective but objective value. They decided to test their theory on eBay.

Rob and Joshua purchase objects -- for no more than a few dollars -- from thrift stores and garage sales. A writer is paired with an object. They then write a fictional story, in any style or voice, about the object. And then suddenly, a rather unremarkable trinket is transformed into a significant object.

Each significant object is then listed for sale on eBay. The object. is pictured, but instead of a factual description the object's newly written fictional story is used. The winning bidder is mailed the significant object, along with a printout of the object's fictional story. Net proceeds from the sale have been donated to 826 National and as of today, over $1,290 has been contributed to this group of eight nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students, ages 6-18, with expository and creative writing.

You can see my object here, and you can bid on it here!
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