Anthro Ticker

The Life and Times of an IKEA bag

If you live in close vicinity to IKEA or decked out your apartment in MALM dressers and beds, you have owned several IKEA bags. I have them all over my apartment and reuse them for laundry, groceries, moving, etc.

Yesterday, I stumbled across a news story in which a Swedish woman found IKEA bags filled with human skeletons. The familiar sight of the bags seemed to make what should have been a horrifying story, more palatable- almost comical.

via Gawker

via Gawker

This morning, as I walked around my quiet apartment, cleaning up and considering breakfast, I noticed my ‘Rockstar Anthro pup’ had discovered my IKEA bag of laundry on the couch and decided it would be a great place to cuddle up and go back to sleep. While some might have picked up the fuzzy guy to keep their clean clothes pet hair free for at least a little bit, I thought turned my thoughts back to the IKEA bags filled with disarticulated skeletons.

'Rockstar Anthro Pup' making a bed from an Ikea bag of laundry

‘Rockstar Anthro Pup’ making a bed from an Ikea bag of laundry

The IKEA bag as a global experience? In anthropology, there are studies and research that is concerned with mass production of material goods and increasing globalization leading to a very bland, homogenized, world. There is a concern that cultural diversity will be lost. On the other side of the argument, is the thought that vastly different ideological and political systems, environments, traditions and histories means that the same items can and will be used in different ways that are relevant to a particular way of life.

Hearing of this woman finding IKEA bags of bones, and thinking about the ways I try to use IKEA bags for everything, I wondered about the other ways folks use the ‘IKEA bag’ and here are some neat things I found!

Adriana Valdez Ikea dress via Ikea Hackers

Adriana Valdez Ikea dress via Ikea Hackers

Bizarre Wrestler Cosplay by Arne Hendriks

Bizarre Wrestler Cosplay by Arne Hendriks

Composting and gardening via Ikea Hackers

Composting and gardening via Ikea Hackers

I think it’s interesting how this weird news story, made even more bizarre because it involved a very ordinary and innocuous bag, made me think of my own experience with this ordinary bag.

I want to follow up with the IKEA bones story, but in the meantime, what do you use your IKEA bags for?

2 Comments on The Life and Times of an IKEA bag

  1. I was just thinking about this the other day! I was analyzing a crate of salvage excavated human remains that were housed in plastic bags. Because of the fullness of the bags and the effects of time and movement, some of the bags were splitting open, releasing bones into the open crate – if you look at my Osteology Everywhere post on the pebble, you can see this happening in the second picture down. I had heard about the Swedish church discovery, and I thought about how, rather than being offended, I would much rather the excavators had placed the remains in IKEA bags, because they’re so much hardier and built to last! The difference between an archaeological approach to human remains and the public’s, I guess…

    • Isn’t it funny how every day object become something else depending on your training, vocation, lifestyle? In this public lab exhibition I worked on, we had a mummified bear paw in a zip lock bag, and visitors thought it was hysterical. Some mentioned that they would never look at lunch the same, ha!

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