Full Interview: Rob Walker on Significant Objects

Clown and penny


Want to get the best possible price for that junk you're selling on eBay? Maybe you should write a short story to go along with it.

That's the idea behind the Significant Objects project. It's an online experiment designed measure how stories can change the value of ordinary, everyday objects. Curators Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn buy inexpensive things from yard sales and thrift shops, then pair the items with writers, who write short stories inspired by the object.

Invested with new significance by this fiction, the object should -- according to our hypothesis -- acquire not merely subjective but objective value. How to test our theory? Via eBay!

For example, this porcelain shoe originally cost $4. After being paired with an original story by Sheila Heti, the final price was $77.51.

This morning, Nora interviewed Rob Walker about the project. A shorter version of this interview will air on the October 18 & 20 episode of Spark, but you can download the MP3. [runs 14:52]

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