April 26, 2019
The seventh PROJECT:OBJECT volume is a 25-part series of true stories about fetishes. That is to say: objects with which we are obsessed, to which we are devoted, and from the influence of which we cannot escape.
The summer I was 16 I caddied at a golf course in my New England town. My task, after I watched a golfer tee off, was to hoist their bag of clubs onto my shoulder, walk out onto the fairway ahead of them, and wait for them at their ball. When my first golfer teed off, his ball disappeared in the sky. I wandered the fairway toward where I thought it might have gone and he said, “I wish. It’s over there in the weeds.” After four or five more golfers’ balls vanished in the air, I had my eyes checked and bought a pair of glasses with thin black metal frames. I became a decent caddy, driving a car became possible, movies became enjoyable, the world looked clear again. I cherished my glasses even as I experienced the onset of my nearsightedness as the first note in the long funeral march of my body’s decay.
I was 17, in New Jersey, running behind a moving car my glasses were on top of; they slid off and I mashed them under my shoe. Because I wanted, needed to see, I bought a new pair, with a stronger prescription this time as my sight had already worsened. At 22, a joke-entrant in a dance contest, I sexily removed my glasses, threw them at the judges, and they never came back to me. I bought another pair, stronger again. At 30, on a small, theoretically non-tempestuous river in Colorado, I was wedged into an inner tube when it violently capsized and my glasses sank to the murky bottom. At 40, I stood on the turret of an ancient castle on a cliff in a Swiss Alp, peered over the edge, my glasses slipped from my face and vanished into the sky below me….
Another pair, and another, and another, each stronger than the previous because, if you want to be literal about it, each pair of glasses I’ve owned is different from all the others. But just as Borges proposed a world in which all people in the moment of orgasm are the same person, so I believe all pairs of glasses in the moment of their loss or destruction are the same pair of glasses. Sure thing, the poet William Matthews argued, is an oxymoron, and this is as true of my growingly failing eyes as it is of their more and more strenuously corrective, inherently unstable prostheses. How sublime and temporary to be a person or a pair of glasses. Each morning when I put my glasses on my face, I am putting god on god, death on death.
FETISHES: INTRODUCTION | Josh Foer on DEATH MASK | Beth Lisick on MURDERED-OUT KFC BUCKET | Ramona Lyons on RABBIT BOX | Friederike Paetzold on OLD HANDS | Katya Apekina on MISSISSIPPI WATER | Matthew Daniel on PIPE CLEANER FIGURE | Christina Couch on LEECH ACTION FIGURE | Kenneth Goldsmith on THEWLIS SOCK | Matthew Sharpe on GLASSES | Katrina Brown Hunt on DAY OF THE DEAD FIGURINE | Niela Orr on IVERSON SNEAKERS | Toni Schlesinger on CLOUD ERASE BOARD | Carlo Rotella on TONE BAR | Hilary Greenbaum on FAMILY PHOTO | Mimi Lipson on CLAWFOOT TUB | Wayne Chambliss on MATRYOSHKA CHEST | Chelsea Barabas on SWITCHBLADE | Ciara O’Rourke on MOLLY McINTIRE DOLL | Kelli Anderson on MIURA-ORI FOLD | Shawn Wolfe on BOX OF AYDS | Alyssa Giacobbe on LOVE NOTE | Marc Weidenbaum on DUMMY JACK | Abby Rapoport on MAGNATILES | Bryn Smith on DUCK UMBRELLA | Kerry Lauerman on WALL ORGANIZER.
FOSSILS: INTRODUCTION | Allegra Huston on SKATAWAY JACKET | Kevin Obsatz on HOMEMADE NUNCHUKS | Ian Bogost on DESKTOP TELEPHONE | Jeff Lewonczyk on CHA-CHA JACKET SCRAP | Kelly Horan on VOLVO KEY | & 20 MORE.
FLAIR: INTRODUCTION | Cliff Kuang on ROLEX DATEJUST | Ethan Zuckerman on LAPTOP STICKERS | Ann Shoket on LEATHER JACKET | Kembrew McLeod on KEMBREW MERCH | Paola Antonelli on MERMAID TEARS | & 20 MORE.
LOST OBJECTS (vol. 1): INTRODUCTION | Kate Bernheimer on MULLET WIG (ill. Amy Evans) | Dan Piepenbring on COLOGNE (ill. Josh Neufeld) | Doug Dorst on STRATOCASTER (ill. John Holbo) | Paul Lukas on VANILLA BEAN (ill. Allison Bamcat) | Mimi Lipson on DODGE DART (ill. Mister Reusch) | & 20 MORE.
ILLICIT OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Kio Stark on PEEPSHOW TOKEN | Sari Wilson on TOMBSTONE PARTS | Annalee Newitz on CAR-BOMB REMNANT | Tito Bottitta on MOONINITE DEVICE | Eric Bennett on DIRTY MAGAZINE | & 20 MORE.
TALISMANIC OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Veda Hille on CROCHET SHEEP | Gary Panter on DINOSAUR BONES | Jami Attenberg on SELENITE CRYSTAL | Annie Nocenti on MINIATURE DICE | Wayne Curtis on CLOCK WINDING KEY | & 20 MORE.
POLITICAL OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Luc Sante on CAMPAIGN PAMPHLETS | Lydia Millet on PVC POLAR BEAR | Ben Greenman on MATCHBOX CAR | Rob Baedeker on PRESIDENTS PLACEMAT | L.A. Kauffman on WHEATPASTE POSTER | & 20 MORE.
SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS at HILOBROW: PROJECT:OBJECT homepage | PROJECT:OBJECT newsletter | PROJECT:OBJECT objects (Threadless shop — all profits donated to the ACLU) | POLITICAL OBJECTS series (1Q2017) | TALISMANIC OBJECTS series (2Q2017) | ILLICIT OBJECTS series (3Q2017) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 1 series (4Q2017) | FLAIR series (2Q2018) | FOSSIL series (4Q2018) | FETISHES series (2Q2019) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 2 series (4Q2019) | MOVIE OBJECTS series (2Q2020). ALSO SEE: SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS website | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS collection, ed. Rob Walker and Josh Glenn (Fantagraphics, 2012) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY, ed. Josh Glenn (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY excerpts.