Each month for the past year, Darius Kazemi has had a surprise package arrive at his Somerville residence: At least two items bought at random, by himself, for himself, as an experiment in online shopping. Now he’s letting 50 lucky buyers give the same gift to themselves or others, calling the project “Random Friday.”
“It’s inspired by one of my favorite feelings: when you order something on Amazon, and it’s put on backorder, and then you forget you ordered it, and a year later it arrives—and it’s like a gift you bought yourself,” Kazemi wrote on the Tumblr that chronicles the purchases.
Now you too can play Russian roulette with your consumerist instincts.
For $400 a “print,” he’ll run his project for the recipient of your choice, which will include about $100 of randomly selected Amazon goods (at least two items), a numbered and signed certificate, and a chance to be exposed to some very odd products.
“To be entirely clear: I’m using the metaphor of ‘prints’ for art because this is specifically priced for art collectors,” he wrote in an email. “Of course, anyone can replicate Random Shopper on their own if they want to experience it, and in fact, I encourage them to do so.”
And that’s how he sees (and prices) the project: As art, despite writing that a few people had emailed him asking for it to be a subscription service. Doing that would ruin the project, he said.
“I think Random Shopper stands alone as an artistic critique of consumerism: is random stuff just as satisfying as things we believe we choose for ourselves? Is the act of buying the important part?,” he wrote.
For today’s Black Friday sales, Kazemi, not surprisingly, said he was opting out of the sale scavenging but looking forward to picking up some bread for turkey sandwiches.
And as to whether anyone on his gift list would be receiving a Random Friday pack?
“Last year I did it for a few people and it was a lot of fun,” he said,. “I might do it again this year, especially if Dec 15 rolls around and I still can’t think of anything for someone.”