about the site

Surrounded By Objects is dedicated to examining the often unseen characteristics of the products that we purchase, use, consume and discard. Innovative technologies like networked computing, satellites, the shipping container, robotics, advances in chemistry, workflow automation, fertilizer, and even something as ubiquitous as paper currency (not to mention digital currency!) have allowed production and trade to scale globally at a spectacular pace. One result of this trade has been to lift millions of people out of poverty, extend life expectancies, and to vastly improve the lives of countless individuals. Another consequence of this combination of technologies has been obfuscation. Once upon a time, we were limited to trading and bartering directly with the individual who created or farmed a product. That person would have been limited to producing the product with a fairly limited set of materials. We would have seen the producer, and understood what was produced. Today, the proxy of capital stands between individuals trading products that are the result of dozens, if not hundreds, of assembled components and formulated materials. Most of which we know frighteningly little about. Each of those elements contains a trace of the people who touched them, and chemistry that we unknowingly ingest daily. Something that pervasive, and potentially insidious, seems significant enough to examine.

About the site creator