Monday, March 31, 2008

The Value of Trash on NPR

I have a story on NPR's Day to Day today about Justin Gignac and Christine Santora, two New York artists that enjoy playing with the idea of value. Gignac has been selling cubes of New York trash for a few years. At first, he sold them for $10 per cube, but he keeps raising the price and people keep buying them. By the time they hit $100 for special occasion trash (New Year's Eve, Opening day at Yankee Stadium), people started discussing them as art and not just a novelty.

The couple also sells paintings of things they want for the price of those items. They've sold paintings of items ranging from a slice of pizza to an iPhone. The idea is surprisingly popular. Every time they post new items on the Wants for Sale site, they sell out almost immediately. Well, almost every item. The million dollar painting of financial security doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Gignac and Santora also run Needs for Sale, a site with a similar premise, except the money is all donated to charity.

I actually did all the reporting for this story in January, but a series of unforeseen events have held up its broadcast until today. Day to Day paired it with an interview with musician Moby about the value of music.

For anyone interested in the technical aspects, my interview with Gignac and Santora was recorded using a Sony PCM-D50 digital audio recorder and EV RE-50 microphone. There's a little background noise, because this interview was recorded in a New York apartment, and as I'm increasingly coming to notice there is no such thing as a quiet interview in New York City. I've conducted interview on the 20th floor of a downtown skyscraper, and you can still hear news coming in from the streets. In fact, we had to keep stopping this interview because a car alarm kept going off outside the apartment. But overall, it was a lot of fun talking to Gignac and Santora about their work and their thoughts on the value of art.

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