Pins | New Orleans, LA | 2016

The velvet-covered board measured 4×8 feet and displayed hundreds of colored and jeweled pins. Clowns, peacocks, knights, howling coyotes, real estate “sold” signs, and boastful “nurses care” and “doctors know” slogans. It was certainly the most extensive assortment of any item at the famed New Orleans’ French Market. “You like?” asked the little man behind the counter. “”If not, more right here.” And he pulled out two big baskets containing tens of thousands of additional pins. “No two same,” he said. The staggering variety conjured images of Asian sweatshops filled with children gluing rhinestones to stamped metal shapes. But more likely it was one young woman in an air-conditioned office monitoring a computer that randomly modified each pin design a hundred times over. “Very special!” exclaimed the little man. He placed two nearly exact Buddha shapes in his palm. Each shined with different colors. “Like you and me,” he pointed to the pins and smiled. “Different, but the same.”