Artists have long toyed with the idea of value. From vision to materials, all artistic media begs to be considered for what it is as a whole—or what it is not. With his #SealedContents series, designer and artist Micah Spear subverts the value of objects and addresses their capacity to tell stories head on. From destructed international currency to childhood relics, items have been collected and vacuum sealed shut. The result is not only visually engaging, but also thought-provoking.
As for the series’ origin, Spear tells CH, “I first started gathering items of high sentimental value from around my house. I was experimenting with not only the utilitarian but the nostalgic, and putting them through this process that they wouldn’t undergo unless they were being sealed to be sold.” In doing so, he observed that “they became these artifacts that I didn’t have the same emotional connection to anymore. There was a layer of isolation, and while they were collectibles, they had lost their hold on me.” The series began with items including a Nintendo Zelda Game Watch from 1989, late ’80s Star Wars action figures and even a Rolex.
“Eventually, the sealed contents started to tell what felt like more important stories, he says, “So I began to explore what would truly change once it was sealed.” Spear began acquiring various banknotes and sealing it, or burning it and then sealing it. “I became more intentional with the story I wanted to tell, while creating this image of destruction.” This honed his vision and lends the series a concise conceptual edge: rather than tackling the sentimental and superficial, Spear is addressing our deep fixation with money as an object.
Spear plans to continue the series—with no foreseeable end—while working on his other projects; from collaborating with designer Hiroshi Fujiwara on limited edition pieces for New York and LA to working with WorkOf.com, an online furniture showroom for emerging designers and studios. “I am always doing multiple projects at once that have no relationships to one another,” he explains. “The only thing that they really have in common is that they are places for me to challenge and express myself conceptually and visually.” #SealedContents succeeds at both, and triggers a dialogue on the very nature of value and our relationship to it.
The #SealedContents pieces can be purchased on Spear’s website, with prices beginning at $250.
Images courtesy of Micah Spear