Significant Objects — the meme

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An ad for YLighting, from the January 2010 issue of Zink Magazine

There’s no doubt about it. A significant-objects meme has emerged in US culture, recently. I’m not just talking about Orhan Pamuk’s museum. Over at Fast Company, William Bostwick writes: “Maybe it’s the recession (it’s always the recession), but we seem to be going through a phase of self-analysis-through-stuff.” Here’s an ad for YLighting, from the current issue of the magazine Zink. Readers, let us know whenever you spot something like this!


Joshua Glenn is an editor, publisher, and a freelance writer and semiologist. He does business as KING MIXER, LLC. He's cofounder of the websites HiLobrow, Significant Objects, and Semionaut; and cofounder of HiLoBooks, which will reissue six Radium Age sci fi novels in 2012. In 2011, he produced and co-designed the iPhone app KER-PUNCH. He's coauthored and co-edited Taking Things Seriously, The Idler's Glossary, The Wage Slave's Glossary, the story collection Significant Objects (forthcoming from Fantagraphics), and Unbored, a kids' field guide to life forthcoming from Bloomsbury. In the '00s, Glenn was an associate editor and columnist at the Boston Globe's IDEAS section; he also started the IDEAS blog Brainiac. He has written for Slate, n+1, Cabinet, io9, The Baffler, Feed, and The Idler. In the '90s, Glenn published the seminal intellectual zine Hermenaut; served as editorial director and co-producer of the pioneering DIY and online social networking website; and was an editor at the magazine Utne Reader. Glenn manages the Hermenautic Circle, a secretive online community. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons. Click here for more info.

4 thoughts on “Significant Objects — the meme

  1. Yeah, those ads are perfect examples! Another couple I’ve been thinking of lately are the “What’s in my Bag”/”What’s in my Drawer” Flickr photogroups or, kind of, the popularity of a site like The Selby.

  2. Yes, the What’s in My Bag flickr groups are fascinating. I spent an entire day, not long ago, just searching that group for different brands of hand sanitizer — comparing and contrasting. A pseudo-anthropologist’s dream come true, really. I don’t know The Selby — will have to check it out now. And then there’s Leanne Shapton’s “Important Artifacts,” a book in which SO contributor Sheila Heti features prominently… What else, readers?

  3. Pingback: Significant fake branding | Significant Objects

  4. Pingback: Imaginary (and signficant?) branding

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