The Enigma of Objects

A digital exhibition of everday objects with short reflections on what they evoke. Each edition is curated around a theme in order to examine material culture through crowd-sourced artifacts and stories.

Edition 1 / AT HOME : 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. Even staunch minimalists reserve a category for objects that spark joy. How do morsels of materiality become vessels of our hopes, our nostalgia, our grief?

Edition 2 / CYCLES : Cycles operate within us and upon us. They can feel tight, like a week racing by, or long and drawn out – bringing us back to familiar beginings. Then there are cycles that continue in spite of us. Nature is full of cycles like this - a sun that arcs overhead and sinks no matter what the day holds; leaves that grow only to fall and feed new buds. How do objects embody these cyclic motions?

This project seeks to understand:

  • What kinds of objects become timeless and serve as reminders of who we are? How do they help us process our feelings?
  • 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 DM me on instagram:

  • 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.

* Submissions from past contributors are accepted. The curator may edit submissions for clarity and consistency.

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

  • Ensure good lighting. Shoot next to a window during the day, in indirect daylight. Avoid harsh shadows from direct sunlight.
  • Create a neutral backdrop. Drape a sheet, use paper, or shoot against a wall so the object stands against a background.
  • Framing and focus. Choose a square frame on your device, if available. Keep steady, and check that the object is in focus.