Connor Tomas O’Brien

Connor Tomas O’Brien is a Melbourne-based writer, front-end web designer, and co-founder of ebookstore platform Tomely. He created and directed the inaugural Digital Writers’ Festival, and currently works on digital projects for the Stella Prize, the Wheeler Centre, and the City of Literature.

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The Houseplant Era

While houseplant culture is structured, in some ways, around highly conspicuous consumption (of pre-arranged pairings of designer pots and plants, sold at a suitable premium) and the chasing of trends, plants themselves can never be compelled to hold meaning in the way that man-made objects do. In a global marketplace teeming with functional alternatives, Warby Parker glasses or Nike sneakers or Gorman dresses gain, and threaten to lose, their cachet primarily based on what they signify – they are, as Patterson would put it, ‘complicated by questions of style’. Natural objects can never entirely fall in or out of fashion, in part because their forms both predate and will outlast us, and in part because they were never created ‘for’ us in the first place.

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