‘Thing-Power’ of the Pawned Object

The object in a pawnshop is different than the object that is sold on craigslist or put in a tag sale for quick cash.  The pawned object is usually one of higher monetary and/or personal value, acting as a commodity with the possibility of new ownership and the reality of temporary ownership (as it sits in the pawnshop).  It is an object in purgatory – waiting for its previous owner to decide its fate.  This exhibit will explore questions such as:  (1) What are the relationships that a pawnbroker develops with their collection of temporary items and (2) How do these items shift identities within the pawnshop structure?

The shifting nature of the thing at a pawnshop provides perfect illustration of thing theories that give agency to matter.  The relationships between people and things at the pawnshop are based on the object in its roles as a business transaction, a temporary sacrifice and a personal connection.  As the object is handed over, it acquires a new meaning and forms a new relationship.

This project seeks to explore the transient identity of the pawned items that are on hiatus in the pawnshop; between their previous owners and their potential future owners.  In this online exhibition, audio-based artifact biographies will convey object meaning and agency in the pawnshop.  The pawnbroker as mediator between two spaces of object ownership will be used as a narrator describing the things and telling their stories.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *