A couple of weeks ago the New York Times ran an article on authenticity particularly how it applies to objects we purchase from Etsy and even places like Restoration Hardware and West Elm. It's an interesting read however I think it failed to really make a point about what it means for an object to be authentic. Give it a read and let me know what you think. However, the question of authenticity is an interesting one. What does it mean for an object to be authentic? Does an object hold more value if it can be qualified as authentic?
I'll tell you a quick story about one of my objects. Remember this Indian Temple Bell I wrote about last August. Well, I bought it from a vintage store on Queen East where it was labelled as "vintage" and from a "temple in India". I believed what the label said and purchased it. A few days later, I was shopping in HomeSense and what did I see row upon row of - you guessed "Indian temple bells". Clearly, there was nothing vintage or authentic about my temple bell. It's a mass produced item that is probably made in China. Ever since then, I've looked at my temple bell a little differently. I still keep it out on display but it will never make this list and it probably won't be something I rush to save if the house caught on fire.
I think one of the things I've noticed during this project is that the most important objects are ones that hold our personal memories and our individual and collective histories. I'm not saying that these attributes can't be applied to a purchased object (they can) but without an experience or memory tied to an object it simply becomes another thing that is easily discarded.
And with that, here is object number forty-five...