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Item #000000000
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Currently $5.00 (reserve not yet met) First bid $1.00
Quantity 2 # of bids 11 (bid history) (with emails)
Time left 0 mins, 0 secs Location Chicago, Illinois
Started 00/00/00, 00:00:00 PST envelope (mail this auction to a friend)
Ends 00/00/00, 00:00:00 PST [Gift Alert] (request a gift alert)
Seller (Rating) kthorn (2)star
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High bid [email protected] (3)
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Seller assumes all responsibility for listing this item. You should contact the seller to resolve any questions before bidding. Currency is U.S. dollar ($) unless otherwise noted.
e-valuation series (Fair Market Value)

An invitation to bid, but also an opportunity to inform in the interest of dissemination of information.
Participation is neither required nor formally requested.

Art is an artifact of experience, memories and observation, not simply a material possession. Value is applied when recognition of these qualities is expressed by the seller and evident to the buyer. Many contemporary artists disdain art as mercantilism, many embrace it. As an artist confused by disparities between socially ascribed and self-generated values, I examine mercantilism as art in this series of works.

In consumer culture, supply and demand dictate the relative value of goods. In a capitalist market, an item is worth the highest value at which it may be sold. Often the market value is created or skewed by a demand created by the seller and induced in the buyer. The advertising industry primarily creates insecurity and secondarily bolsters sales as a by-product [I find that I am often tempted to seek goods to fulfill an indefinable lack described to me through advertising, I assume that this response occurs with others. Collectively, we smear aluminium salts in our armpits, fear that our whites aren't white enough (whether teeth or textiles), and wonder if we will live longer or better if we behave differently]. Once desire (demand) is created or addressed, the absolute or relative values change according to whatever the market will bear. Supply is implicitly unlimited, with regard to many manufactured goods, though cost is not often reflected accurately by price. Scarcity is the stronghold of much original art, in that the lifespan, energy and whim of the artist is often the limiting factor.

We have no means of quantifying personal sentimental value, except to state its existence and hope for empathic understanding. My own sentimentalizing tendencies, for example, create value in candy wrappers (as gift artifacts, if presented by particular people), an empty cat food can, (if attached to a traumatic event) and un-winning lottery tickets (as universal symbols of dashed hopes or the unco-operative nature of fate).

Inherently, I also question uniqueness, and "firsts" within collectorship as valuating concepts. Serial numbers, signatures and recognizable (quantifiable and asserted by consensus) uniqueness and "quality" have value to collectors, whether art objects, automobiles, or ornaments. Our understanding of important historic events reinforces the adoption of sentimentalizing characteristics which transcend the personal, yet must contain some relationship to patriotism, progress, provenance or such. As a by-product, often ownership reinforces ego and social status through the acquisition of luxury items and collectibles, ensuring appreciation value.

The popularity of the Antiques Roadshow, as a means of ascribing a quantifiable value to found, inherited or sentimental objects exemplifies the ideal of fortune without work. Chance or fate (and sometimes skill) afford hope that all may retire comfortably, on the basis of an authoritative appraisal. Speculation reigns in times where hard work is not enough to guarantee comfortable survival. These conditions allow human greed to flourish: the vendors of counterfeit and replicate items have no shortage of clients from which to profit. Much art is premised in these terms, utilizing discarded items or found objects, with provenance and authorship creating value.

This project was inspired by a dead bird, which I passed by on my bicycle four times in two days without retrieving. The fifth time I passed, (on foot, with a flat tire,) I appreciated that some value must be present, as I did succumb to the desire for possession. By this act of acquisition, I was driven to consider the other objects in my possession which contain the same qualities of uselessness and valuelessness. The other objects in this series were gleaned from this inexplicable collection of useless possessions without sentimental value. Through semi-anonymity and the value of story-telling (read marketing) I hope to establish whether these objects will gain economic value (however little monetarily) without speculative investment interests as the impetus behind purchase. For me, these objects represent my process of thinking and valuating, while challenging social concepts of worthlessness. These items are not practically useful, and do not easily conform to most conventional definitions of art. In some respects, these objects pay homage to the strategies of Victorian "conversation pieces" as a means to facilitate connecting with others, though this is not their primary or intended purpose. Ebay holds promise of either allowing the prospective audience to gain contact with the objects, or through utter inappropriateness to the venue: the possibility of sale perhaps without subsequent purchase. On examination of the offerings of Ebay (or indeed, any supermarket or dollar store) it becomes evident that for every item there is a prospective consumer, at least in the minds of the purchasing departments or vendors.

The piece consists of 12 items, which will be offered for sale on ebay. eggplant, artichoke, taro root and lemon --- 26 month banana --- squashed paint can --- dead bird --- stripped toaster --- broken glass vase, repaired with Krazy glue® --- moth, housefly and headless dragonfly + "mutant fly" --- big bag of used tea bags --- dust from a funeral home --- asparagus --- dirt, leaves and feathers, in the shape of a bird --- distorted dish soap bottle --- broken heart

This investigation may yield results which may reinforce my cynicism and despair or increase my hopes that human nature can recover from this period where value appears to be assigned by false premises and socially induced desires. A certain quantity of subversive intent is present in the possibility that if all things material possessed value, eventually the entire system would collapse, as it is our ability to differentiate between the valuable and the valueless that determines if we are successful human beings within a capitalist system.


ephemera (Item #000000000)

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