Object Logic

Object Logic

Artist in Residence Project at the Lillstreet Art Center
Chicago, IL

Using the logics of value defined in Jean Baudrillard's For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, participants negotiate cultural and personal value as they relate to everyday objects.

Pictured here are participants playing with objects provided by the artist and negotiating where they should fit on the game board.


In Jean Baudrillard's For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, he outlines several logics of signification in an attempt to “distinguish the logic of consumption”: Use Value: a logic of utility, an instrument, Exchange Value: a logic of the market, a commodity, Sign Value: a logic of status, a sign.
Using Baudrillard’s definitions of use value, exchange value, and sign value as a starting point, participants in the Object Logic workshop negotiate notions of cultural and personal value as they relate to everyday objects. 

Each time the game is played, the same set of objects are placed on a large table together. After going over the definitions of use, exchange and sign value, participants split into groups of 2 or more at each game board. Each player draws a logic of value card (the participant pictured has drawn the exchange value card). This should guide the player as they take their turn choosing an object from the collection that best fits the logic of value they pulled. As each object is added to the board, the player explains why they selected that object to represent their value. Players collectively negotiate where to place each object on the game board.

Pictured here are participants looking at the object table before the game begins, reflecting on the logic of value they drew and how it is defined by Baudrillard.

Each time the game was played, participants used the same set of objects. Each time, the can of Fancy Feast found it's way into the center of the board --- where use, exchange, and sign value intersect. Basing my decision on what had emerged in the action of the games, I decided to use the Fancy Feast can as a symbol for the logics of value explored in the game, seen featured here on the center banner.

Player reflects on the Cultural value of their car key.

In part two of the game, players pull a logic card and choose a game piece from the personal objects they have with them. The game is played just as before, except each player only gets one turn. After the game, players reflect on the cultural and personal value of their object, considering the difference they experienced in playing with an object that held personal meaning vs. objects provided by the artist.

Players generally reflected on how much more difficult it was to play with their own object since it had the added layer of personal value. Players generally felt protective of their object in a way that they did not before. I concluded that the layer of personal value was much more compelling than that of use, exchange or sign value.


Object Logic was created during a year-long residency at the Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, IL. Photographed here is the gallery installation of Object Logic for FIND | MAKE | SOLVE, the 2014 Artists in Residence Show.

The Object Logic Workshop and was facilitated at the Lillstreet Loft in Chicago, IL on 6/8/14 and 7/13/14 as part of FIND | MAKE | SOLVE.

Object Logic Installation, FIND | MAKE | SOLVE, 2014 Artists in Residence Show, Lillstreet Art Center