Je Est un Objet

Objects tell stories. We are objects and objects “r” us. Rimbaud said “Je est une autre.” I say “Je est un objet.” But how does one become the best objet, the most beautiful objet, a hyperobject among objects, strung out along global networks of image and desire? 

Instagram and Tumblr exist because of our drive to narrate via objects. When we post carefully staged photographs, the specially selected object combinations become curated self-portraits. A pizza and beer tell one story; a baguette, brie and wine another. The intention behind an image of Doc Martens is different from that of Louboutins.

As consumers, we purchase objects because of the stories we want to tell about ourselves. Downward Mobility is a portfolio of 100 drawings of luxury items on which I burned a small fortune in order to tell a short story about myself. A subset of the drawings appears in the February 2014 issue of this magazine.

I was shopping on Rue Saint-Honoré on New Year’s Eve when I happened to see Karl Lagerfeld exit Colette and get into his beige H3. It was a sign! The universe was communicating to me: it was finally time to drop $4,400.00 on a 2.55 bag around the corner at Chanel. Now I would join the classic quilted purse-toting object constellation of Kate Moss, Miley Cyrus, Sophia Coppola, Blake Lively, Kirsten Dunst, Alexa Chung and Lindsay Lohan. As I swing the leather-threaded chain over my shoulder I am “it”: more or less Coco Chanel herself, who, just like me, was stylish, self-made, singular.

The 2.55, taken together with the other Downward Mobility consumer object images, become a symbol system, not unlike an aspirational emoji keyboard extension. Each object represents a particular illusion and dollar amount. Collectively, the iconic images form an object-oriented narrative (OON), telling the story of a girl who thought she could transcend her working class roots through purchasing power, but ultimately cemented her class immobility through unchecked consumption.

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