In a time of massive media, information and over consumption I can imagine someone trying to offer a service to reduce space. People pay space to store things for months, even years. The idea of burning someone's belongings seemed like an unlike thing one person would do until you start running into articles that talk about people setting on fire their own home's because of foreclosure. OBCO is a designed solution for an extreme scenario such as overpopulation of objects. This is a short story I wrote as an exercise to situate OBCO in the real world.
A couple of months ago I interviewed 6 people and asked them about 5 things they would save if their house caught fire. This was a hypothetical scenario of course, but I guess I triggered something in one of them. I found that Damian, one of the people I interviewed just lost his home and belongings to a fire. It surprised me because I learned through the interview, that Damian loves collecting stuff and loved his vast collections of toys, masks and records. I recently spoke to him to let him know I was sorry about his loss, but he said he knew this was going to happen and the reason why he knew this is because he hired some company to do it for him. He said that he realized all of his collection of stuff was getting in the way of his creative process, something about feeling in an eternal loop of repetition. He said all his things were holding him back and had not thought of it until I asked him that question. So I decided to look into it myself. There is a new service that ACTUALLY burns your house to the ground. You are supposed to go through some sort of object screening process and a bunch of paper work to finally sign a release form that allows this company to set your property on fire. They also have some ŇrestartÓ kit that comes with the whole burning experience, they even craft an object based on the most important things you used to have (very similar to the interview I made). It looks like its becoming extremely popular. No wonder I see those fire engines on the street all the time.
These books were used as reference in this work and to set OBCO Services in the realm of objects and the many types of relationships created between people and the items they live with.
Theoretical Objects by Nick Piombino In this book, Piombino uses language as a tool to create objects, tangible things. The book is divided by a series of small manifestos that are followed by poems that talk about how we make real the things we think about, that we believe in. There are specific things about this book that I am particularly interested in and I think itŐs most successful in the work: creating manifestos. There is probably around 6 "automatic manifestos" where thought and writing come together to make ŇthingsÓ real. I find this important because not only gives a frame on how the following poems are written but it also is an illustration on how writing must be perceived. It allows the reader to situate a context and values around the objects created by the author, objects created through poems and ways of thinking. Probably the one bit I remember the most aside from the manifestos is the poem about hybrid forms, "I refer, therefore I am" Piombino writes about the way we identify ourselves with fragments of the familiar, creating hybrids with these pieces of thought.
Extraordinary Objects by Colors This is a compilation of objects that show the identity and story of a specific culture and place. The objects in the book may seem like everyday objects, but itŐs in the distinct nuances of each one that creates the ordinary, extra special. Each object shown in the book is accompanied by a small paragraph that explains itŐs usage and context. This way we understand the story of the object and the people that interact with it. The objects are shown with a white background by themselves. The format could be a of a catalog but with a relational progression that goes from object to object. The book is quite a memorable piece, I appreciate the size of the pictures, the layout and the curation of the objects.
Evocative Objects: Things we think with edited by Sherry Turkle In this compilation of essays, Turkle allows us to peek into the private window of a specific relationship with a specific object. All the essays are written by different people, from different practices (it's specified at the end of each one). This essays share the way each author looks at things because of the relationship they had with a specific object. To add on to this, there is a quote before every essay that puts the story in context, or at least gives you a hint on the approach of the story. I was probably struck the most with the story of a computer as a tool to find love, being the computer the object of the author's first encounter with matters of the heart.
Fortunate Objects compiled by Ella Fontanals Fortunate Objects is not a book, but a retrospective of an exhibition with the same name in 2007. Different artists from different countries like Marina Abramovic, Grabriel Orozco, Jon Kessler, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Damian Hirst among others show work that creates a new way of thinking/looking at everyday objects. The work varies from a wide range of media: performance, intervention, installation, photography, video. One of the questions posed by the curator is the meaning of "everyday object". Is it it's frequent use, function, times manufactured that makes it an everyday thing? For me this body of works relates to mine because it touches on the subjects of looking at these common objects as illusion, as ritual, as a different routine. It is also important to mention that in this exhibit is not only a decontextualized series of objects but objects that have been moved from reality to fiction. There are two works that I really stuck with me, one is Marina Abramovic's performance where she she becomes an object that can hold 72 objects as the spectator wishes (reminds me of Erwin Wurm's work where people become the sculpture while they hold a series of objects) and Damian Hirst's cabinet with the pills, where he is making a comment on how medicine creates an illusion of immortality.
The Uncommon Life of Common Objects by Akiko Busch Here again, is a collection of 12 stories or essays about 12 common objects but from the author's experience. Not only the hand drawn illustrations create a mood of intimacy but the fact that you know that these objects belong to the writer and created a meaningful chapter in her life. Some of the stories involve the use of these objects with a loved one or their experience with it which adds into the attachment of the object and itŐs importance. Probably the story that stuck the most with me was the desk (her son's first desk) and a little match box that she mentions at the beginning of the book. I like how frank the writing is, how emotional and personal the stories are.
All of these books talk about the intangible value that is added to objects through our experiences and stories with them. They all show that at a first glance we assume things about objects: we assume that they function in a certain way, that we have to perform in a certain way when we interact with them. They all show in one way or another the nuances that make this objects important to one's personal history, experience and way of seeing things. I find these to be quite relevant to my thesis because these are all about stories shaping things shaping people shaping things shaping stories. In the process we can find the different types of layers that are added to the experience: magic, illusion, ritual, routine, practice and performance.