The Thing and all its things


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The Thing resists definition. In yesterday’s paper, Mindy Farabee wrote about the periodical that’s sort of a magazine, sort of a subscription art project.

Each issue combines a household object with text. The very first one featured one of two sentences penned by filmmaker and author Miranda July (‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’). Many subscribers sent in photos of the shades where they’d hung them -- in Brooklyn, above, and in Maine, below.


Issue No. 3 incorporated not just an object -- a baseball cap -- but the packaging as well. Kota Ezawa used embroidered Arabic lettering, Cyrillic text on the package and a letter in Chinese that pointed to a translation Web page. ‘The result for many,’ the editors wrote, ‘became a search for meaning and an interaction with a text that had symbolic feel but little relevance to their daily lives (unless they spoke the languages).’

More photos of the things from The Thing after the jump.

Above, the various components of The Thing 3. If you want to know what the baseball cap says, visit the translation page.

Issue No. 3.5 -- a surprise bonus issue -- was a set of coasters designed by artist Tucker Nichols. Most of the text comes from businesses in Eureka, Calif.

Issue No. 2 -- an orange rubber doorstop engraved with text -- was designed by Anne Walsh, who re-created a letter she wrote to Billie Jean King in 1973. Farabee reports that the editors get a kick out of the idea:

With the doorstop, they joke that they’ve created the world’s first truly functional metaphor. ‘Billie Jean King opened the door and held it open for other women,’ Walsh said.


Although the magazine is based in San Francisco, the packing party for The Thing No. 2 took place in Highland Park in June. The editors will be in New York for this weekend’s NY Art Book Fair and the upcoming Editions/Artists’ Books Fair, where they’ll be wrapping issue No. 6.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

All photos, except the final one (directly above), were provided by The Thing. The final photo was taken by Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times.