Go to www.ebay.com.
Navigate to a category called “Everything Else.
Within it are categories like “Weird Stuff,” “Totally Bizarre,” and simply “Other.
This is the outer limits of eBay, a place for items that defy categorization.
Set your minimum bid relatively high at $1,000, for example.
Now you are scrolling through the crème of the dregs of online auctions.
This is where the smiling rock resides.
The smiling rock is a small agate geode for sale on eBay.com. Buyers can use the Buy It Now function to purchase the smiling rock for $1,000,000 or they can suggest a lower price, which the seller can accept or reject.
The smiling rock has been listed on eBay for more than five years. It has been viewed more than 28,000 times and 97 people currently have the listing saved in their Watch Lists. Nearly 200 offers have been made to purchase the smiling rock for amounts less than $1,000,000 and none of them have been accepted.
During a research trip in Berlin in the summer of 2015, we met up with an American artist Lindsay Lawson in her studio at Oranienstrasse. Lindsay enthusiastically showed us a smiling stone, an orange shaped like a vagina, and other extraordinary objects, all offered on eBay for absurdly high prices (the smiling rock at $1,000,000). The objects are sold under the category “Everything Else” and within it are categories like “Weird Stuff,” “Totally Bizarre,” and “Every Other Thing.”
In 1646 Lawson presented The Smiling Rock, a fictional film involving a woman falling in love with a rock she saw on eBay. This film is the result of Lawson’s own long standing fascination with an actual eBay listing from a man in Arkansas trying to sell an exorbitantly-priced small rock with a smiley face. Her fixation and inability to possess this rare thing has been pivotal for her practice for several years resulting in a solo exhibition at Gillmeier Rech in Berlin and numerous other exhibitions, texts, and now a feature-length film. Her interest in obscure objects has evolved into a narrative concerning object-sexuality, virtuality, and self-determination.
Lindsay Lawson’s body of work references various forms of cultural production – drama, film, music, dance, as well as visual arts – in a series of enquiries that encompass both the popular and highbrow, from Shakespearean drama to the Hollywood blockbuster. Her work spans media such as film, video, installation, photography, sculpture, performance, text, and a particular type of contractual legal agreements she called Arrangements. Her practice often deals with issues of presence and objecthood in virtual and physical spaces. Numerous projects in the past investigated states of infatuation with virtual personas and both virtual and physical objects.