The Object Ethnography Project is sponsored by New York University’s Lucrece Project: Creative Experiments in Critical Practice, which aims to foster spaces where scholars and artists work collaboratively to explore the overlaps between different methods and working practices. Our team, whose membership continues to grow, is made of artists, anthropologists, members of The Fixers Collective, economists, designers, and communication scholars. The project is designed to investigate how stories include the value and circulation of objects, and provides an opportunity for academics to study the stories people tell and how they tell them, decisions they make about exchanges, and other social interactions that occur within the trade event. The results of these studies will be presented at the Lucrece conference at New York University in March 2012.
How it Works
Each of the objects in the Object Ethnography Project have been donated by ordinary people. Each object has a story attached. Some talk about the history of the object, why it has meaning to the donor, or why the donor felt the need to part with their object.
On March 15th, 2012, the objects will become available for exchange. You, or anyone else, can trade for any object by offering a new story about it. What attracts you to the object? What will you do with it? How will the object spend its time in your possession?
Once a story has been offered for exchange, the object will be mailed to its new owner. The Object Ethnographers will contact new owners a few months after the exchange to see how things are getting on. Has the object met expectations? Has it been given away (in which case we will follow up with the new owner)? A new story will be recorded.
The final online exhibition will consist of a photograph of each object and its three stories.