Tuesday, 23 May 2017

swap meet

Hyperallergic contributor Mark Dery pens a thoughtful essay lamenting eBay’s transformation to a model more akin to other on-line retailers who specialise in plying wares similar to ones that a given shopper has already expressed an interest in from its origins as an on-line flea market (Flöhmarkt, les puces), souk, arcade or yard sale.
Rather than trying cater to consumers by gainsaying what they might like, eBay encouraged critical meandering, the bailiwick of the committed flâneur. The dissonance and the disconnect are essential for experiencing serendipity, the non sequitur, and are patently more character building than having everything that one is interested in or concerned for served to them in tidy package. Ghost malls are a bellwether and a parallel casualty to marketing but in their homogenising brought about their own demise. Old eBay was the emporium that facilitated the exchange of items befitting a Wünderkammer like bizarre taxidermy specimens, celebrity detritus or the simulacra of Jesus and Mary in food items and was a source of associated folklore for some of these transaction, but the new eBay hardly has any auctions any more with the trend towards the bourgeoisie smug and no place for the weirder categories.