Today, I was doing some last minute online shopping when I was looking through one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie. Imagine my surprise when, tucked in with all the adorable scarves and jewelry, I find that they are selling what might be the single worst product ever created… for less than $15,000! It’s a ping pong table made in the shape of Easter Island. Why?
Artist Cyprien Chabert is haunted by the idea of lost paradise – forgotten and fantasized about. He recreates these worlds through his work, like this show-stopping table, carved from an erstwhile ping pong table. Chabert was inspired by the Polynesian island of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, and its birdman ritual, an annual event in which competitors would swim through shark-infested waters to a nearby islet to collect the season¿s first eggs of the Sooty Tern and return it to their sponsor on the island. The winner was crowned birdman for one year; the ritual died out in the late 19th century. Chabert uses the exotic symbolism of Easter Island to represent the complex nature of man’s relationship with nature and the ecological challenges faced by modern societies and cultures.
My favorite part of that description is the Anthropologie product description writer’s use of the word “erstwhile.” I’ve had a lot of tough writing assignments, but I’ve never faced a task like that poor guy. I can only imagine his face when he was assigned this one.
“We’re selling a ping pong table,” his boss must’ve said.
Great! the writer may have thought. A retro addition to any family room!
“Well, you can’t actually use it, because it was created to complex nature of man’s relationship with nature and the ecological challenges faced by modern societies and cultures.”
“Say something about sharks. And birdmen.”
“What’s a birdman?”
“You’re missing the point.”
“And the point is…?”
Are you still shopping for your loved ones who are haunted by paradise lost? You can buy one of these for the game room here!