Monday, September 6, 2010


I have exercises on writing about things – two in particular that I will post this week (Week 2) are called “The Talisman” and “Garbology.”

On Facebook today, a friend linked to this interesting article in the New York Times Magazine. I offer it as an adjunct to the “Talisman” and “Garbology,” along with some musings to accompany it.

Partly, these exercises are about seeing. When we look at what’s present, we are seeing only a small part of what is really there, and only a small part of what each item in our view really is in itself. Regarding that first statement: we tend to see what we are inclined to see, what we are already familiar with or what fits our general view of the world we are a part of. Our eyes tend to home in on particular things, as well, to the exclusion of other things right there before us. (That’s true of hearing, as well). Regarding the second statement: everything is an emblem of some larger experience  -- a history, a family of things, the use or other meaningfulness of the thing, the metonymic realities of the thing (who owns it, made it, was affected by it, among other associations),  and countless other contexts we could define.

Many of the exercises are meant truly to “exercise,” that is, train, our perceptions: to see more, to see less at times, and thereby to see with greater focus, greater opportunity for value or meaning.

 One thing that interests me about this Times article (about the Internet-based initiatives it discusses, that is) is that the things we own and share are interconnected, and the stories about them are interconnected; the Internet, essentially a vast and dynamic system of interconnections, is therefore a natural medium (or dimension) for exploring the interconnectedness of things and the people who own and share things.

So, to add to ideas surrounding “The Talisman”: these web services, forms of Social Networking, offer technological ways of narrating and sharing stories; how do the Short Story, the Poem, or the Essay (consider them much older forms of technology, and also media, or alternate dimensions!) already do the work of telling, framing, and sharing stories related to things? How are things works of art in themselves; how are they also projections of identity, family, community? 


  1. First of all, what own or acquire over the course of our life ends up being our garbage or our descendants garbage. This is determinant on whether we choose to discard them or pass them on to our relatives. We tend to attach a lot value to things that have a story behind them. In most cases, it makes the object or thing more alive, because we tend to either relate to the story or romanticize the story, thereby falling in love with the object. This could be the fabric, the designer, the color, the shape, or the previous owner. This clearly represents the obsession we have with "designer clothes" and the extent we are willing to go to own a piece of it. Same applies to Picasso's. Picture and paintings as well we covert because of what they tend to symbolize. Emphatically, the rich and wealthy make the most "Garbologist" from my observation. I could be wrong.

  2. Wow, the very idea of having an, what tech-experts call, internet of things is a bit intriguing. Imagine, you will soon be able to pick up an object, scan it with your mobile phone, then have the object’s history read to you by an app in your device. That seems pretty amazing! Of course there are going to be some drawbacks, but nonetheless it will make passing down family history through generations much easier.

  3. One of the best things about our prized possessions is the story behind them and the more the story is told the better the story gets. If the story is just recorded I think it will lose some of its value.
    Some things should be kept sacred from technology.

  4. I think the things we have cannot help but to become projections of ourselves. These projections are based on our own individual thoughts, emotions, experiences, and biases which are shaped in part by our family, community, and the time period we live in. As human beings, we search for meaning and in doing so, assign meaning to things around us, great or small. Maybe as a way to make the meaningful, yet fleeting moments in our life a little more concrete, tangible, and durable, we transfer our memories and the emotions associated with them into inanimate objects.

  5. People never take the time to learn or acknoweldge a piece of object that has a hidden story behind it. Most of us percieve things as either black or white. However, everything, every place, every person has unknown history waiting to be figured out and released. It is our duty to care or even look beyond what is actually there and what has been created.

  6. Well, each and every time a story is told, it always seem to refer to specific object or a thing that they have seen. I think that its always in the back of our minds each and everytime we get on social networking sites and even just conversating with others. ITss always a theme in conversation