I started making a list of every object I've bought this week, as well as interacted with, and my major realization is this: I have more objects than friends.
2 for $6 wine, dolphin fountain, four books for Kindle, seltzer water, oranges, touch-screen gloves, lipstick holder, holographic nail polish, $12 wine, ginger ale, hair cut, Chinese New Year's amulet, back rub, toothbrush, yoga mat, more food, more drinks, Internet, socks, hot sauce, MetroCard, recycling bags, regular trash bags, stick-on tattoos, toilet seat
That's a whole lot of ordinary and not-so-ordinary objects to discuss. So I say SCHUCK OFF* to all these objects—and hello to people.
Here's some ways to categorize how people interact with objects. 1) Hoarders. The image to keep in mind: Newspapers, stacked so high they become towers in someone's home. To get philosophical, here, objects surround people, but are not a part of people. 2) Eaters. In comparison to hoarders, who keep some physical distance from their objects, ingesting an object is the best mode of being for these folks. Common objects for eaters: food, drugs, or vitamins. 3) Avoiders. Everything is so Fordist, so packaged, so capitalist. Why don't we live off the grid? Why can't we be free? Isn't it overwhelming? I am so scared. The future is shocking me.
Yes, it is. But this is the life we all live, surrounded by objects in the cloud and at our feet. We like to be surrounded by things, and some things are better than others.
I'm not going to get all Heidegger or Latour on this, although I do, of course, have a reading list of links properly prepared for anyone in need of some human-object basics.
These examples aren't terribly recent, but they're always a good place to start when thinking about things.
Not totally related but somewhat related: Whenever I'm talking about "things," I'm referring to the general, abstract notion of a "thing." Too often that term has been usurped by nervous and/or journalists (myself included) in need of a filler word.
Until next week,
*I don't ever say "SHUCK IT OUT" but my mom is reading this NL, so "Hi, Mom." While I have your attention, Mom, please name one of Meow Meow's kittens after Taylor Swift. You told me you would. Now don't go back on this. I am an art critic.
Why buy horses when you can look at them online?
Ordinary Objects is an informative newsletter about things. Specifically, it's about one object Corinna Kirsch bought this week. Thanks for reading.