Manufacturing Value Through Context

Manufacturing Value Through Context

Sometimes a product's value seems to come from nowhere at all, instead it is created entirely by giving a normally valueless item value through context.

Kyle Studstill
  • 2 february 2010

As PSFK tracks innovation and inspiring projects, we find that many reflect that value that comes from combining existing products, services, or ideas in new ways. We also find that value can seem to come from nowhere at all, instead created entirely by giving a normally valueless item value through context. Below we have collected examples of this manufactured value that PSFK has tracked recently.

Do Make Believe Histories Add Value to Our Objects?


In our article “Do Make Believe Histories Add Value To Our Objects?“, we covered Rob Walker of Murketing and his work with the Significant Objects project. The experiment uncovers some insight on the nature of value, giving fictional history to mundane thrift store items through invented narratives about each object’s story. The items are sold on eBay, with full disclosure of their made-up stories, often at a final selling price of many times the original value.

Transient Artwork Continually Sells Itself On eBay

Artist Caleb Larsen’sA Tool To Deceive And Slaughter‘ art comments on ownership by powering its own continual exchange via eBay. The black acrylic cube checks every ten minutes if it is currently in an auction; if not it creates a new one, ensuring that owners are only in possession of the device for indeterminate periods of time. Functionally the work is simply an acrylic box and some ethernet cable, but the last auction ended at $6500.

ReKnit Upcycles Old Sweaters

ReKnit Upcycles Old Sweaters

Artist and designer Haik Avanian‘s ReKnit is a project that allows people to send old sweaters to Avanian’s mom, which she unravels and knits back into a specified article of the month. The project takes items of clothing that participants no longer find valuable, and transforms them into apparel they will be able to use.

Trash To Treasure With makedo’s Modular Connector System

Trash To Treasure With makedo's Modular Connector System

Designer Paul Justin has adapted makedo kits that allow users to create forms and spaces using modular connector clips and used them to transform everyday trash into work of art. Paul’s trash-to-treasure project was featured in in last year’s State of Design Festival.


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3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled


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