May 2, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
Last Saturday, I stumbled upon something sort of remarkable: a free market. I mean really, really free. It operated on a simple principle: bring what you don’t want, need or have space for, and take whatever you like. It doesn’t seem to make much sense…until you look around your house at all the things that are just taking up space; things that you’d rather not throw away; things that you think you might someday sell on eBay or at a garage sale…if ever you get around to it. What if you could part ways with your unused or unloved material possessions without feeling like they’ve gone to waste? What if somebody else out there in the world could offer your old stuff a loving, new home? Maybe they’re a collector; maybe a crafter or an artist or they know a guy who knows a guy who is? Now the flipside – what if you’re that person for somebody else’s stuff? What if they’ve been holding onto something that you‘ve longed for or could re-purpose or re-gift? Seriously, if a really, really free market comes to your town, give it a shot – you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find, and don’t be afraid! Be generous! You probably won’t miss it and you’ll probably even feel good to have it put to better use than taking up space in your garage (whatever it happens to be for you).
Today’s project is a really, truly, genuinely free market on wheels – taking to the highways of America to sift through the trash/treasure of people across the country.
At each stop, we’ll set up our Trading Tortoise installation and invite people to bring an object, story or creation and exchange it for something else special we’ve found or traded for along the way. We hope to connect people in different places in America in this way, through a network of traded treasures, and through a mutual love of giving and receiving in a non-monetary exchange.
18,000 miles of stuff with stories. It’s an adventure of diamonds in the rough – made infinitely more valuable by the people and the memories of an thing’s origin. Even your junk has a past and maybe sharing that history is more important than keeping it locked up or laying around. Don’t let the dust settle or time wash the history away. The Trading Tortoise is more than a trading post for bric-a-bracs – it’s an archive of the history of stuff and of the people who once called it their own. Now, people from all across the country can become a part of an exchange of material, memories and meaning. Lend meaning to this adventure by backing it on Kickstarter before May 6.