The space available to our imagination is constantly under threat. As Naomi Klein argues in her recent book No Logo, it is increasingly being invaded by the predatory brands which, not content with supplying us with goods, wish to inhabit our consciousnesses too; but it is also besieged by the media, our work, and the ordinary hurry and anxieties of the life we lead.
Someone has to put their foot in the door.
For nearly seven years, things has existed, as we said at the outset, as a free space for the discussion of objects, their histories and meanings; or later, as we broadened our concerns, of objects, their pasts, presents and futures. things is edited by a small group of people from their kitchen tables, in time snatched from paid work, often very late at night, and increasingly interrupted by the diversionary tactics of the very young, who have yet to learn to appreciate the pleasures of the written word; its contributors are a larger and more diverse group of people, sometimes known only to us through e-mail, who write under much the same conditions. No one is paid for their work on things, apart from our printers.
We are, however, under no illusion that we exist entirely outside the market - we couldn't produce things if it weren't for you, dear readers, who make everything possible through buying and reading your copies - but we occupy a peculiar niche somewhere near its periphery. We are, we like to argue, part of a redefinition of leisure time as meaningful free time. It would be a poor life, city or world, which was entirely based on getting and spending.
The writing in things is not defined by its exchange value; as its editors, and from experience elsewhere, we know that this is not the kind of work you can by for money.
We - and you - just do it. Because we're worth it.