The Enigma of Objects

Project Overview: The pandemic has us sheltering in place, amidst a collection of objects that help us feel at home. Most objects we live with are chosen for their function. A select few escape mere practicality and acquire sentimental value.

These morsels of materiality become vessels of hope, of nostalgia, of grief. Even staunch minimalists reserve a category for objects that spark joy. They are the things we’d rush to rescue from an all-consuming  fire.

This project invites photos of irreplaceable objects in your personal collection, with reflections on why they remain special, and what they evoke. Submissions will be curated on instagram, offering a peek into contemporary material culture through crowd-sourced artifacts and stories.

This project touches on questions like:

  • What kinds of objects become timeless and serve as reminders of who we are?

  • How do some objects stay relevant in a culture obsessed with disposability and innovation?

  • Why do we hold on to heirlooms, artifacts, found objects, souvenirs, and what do they mean in the context of our own transience?

Submissions: To feature an object from your personal collection on this instagram-based exhibition, please send the following to or via instagram messenger:

  • 2 photos of an object from your personal collection. See photo guidelines below.

  • A short text on its significance and what it evokes for you. Max. 500 characters.

  • Your name and city. You may use a pseudonym if you wish to stay anonymous.

Photography: Whether capturing your object with a phone or camera, photos should be taken under natural light, against a white backdrop, and in focus. A square photo framing the entire object is recommeneded, you may also include some detail shots if you wish.

  • Ensure good lighting. Shoot next to a window during the day, where there is plenty of indirect daylight. Avoid harsh shadows from direct sunlight.

  • Create a white backdrop. Drape a white sheet, use white paper, or shoot against a white wall to give the object a uniform background.

  • Framing and Focus. Choose a square frame on your device, if available. Keep steady and check if the object is in focus.

* The curator may edit submissions for consistency.