Cebo Campbell

Futerra Couch

The red couch is the oldest object in the office. Other things are made to seem old, as this is the fashion nowadays. Neoindustrial lamps turn up at every street corner as do tabletops made of reclaimed wood. Still, nothing in the office owned space in the world beyond a few years, save the red couch. The red couch took its first seat decades ago. It cost twelve hundred pounds and arrived in nearly the same condition it sits today. Each year it develops a new smell; two years ago the mint paled to cedar and smoke. The lady who sold it on it’s third exchange, said it had been owned by Hugh Hefner. This couch sat in a reading room, she said, where perky tits and bare asses seldom ventured. She told that story as a matter of fact, as did the next person and the next, and so it was.

It is said of the couch that it has a soul. I suspect what such counsel seeks to express is that the couch has a patchwork-soul made up of tiny soul fragments left over the years. In the same way a party might sit and leave an eyelash or a few wafers of skin, they part a wee parcel of their quality. Nothing to miss. The couch assumes those pieces, buries them in its cushions and wedges what it can into the shattering leather. It does not have a soul; not as one thinks of a soul, really. It can carry only enough of those ethereal shards that when its hosts our backs we experience an effortless familiarity. We recognize elements of our whole in the same way a tree recognizes kindred in a wooden table, the sun in a lamp’s lumen. Wooden tables and metal lamps do not suffer the same degrees of separation from their creators. Not like the couch; made by a machine to be unremarkable amongst many, many others identical. The red couch is devoid of our image. Its colors, its buttons, its seams have no semblance in nature or in us. It is through those superfluous pieces it found its way back; filled itself with the substance of its true creator. The red couch carries in its fabric just enough particles of soul and skin to proclaim itself one of us. And so, it seems alive when we touch it, curls around us when we sit, and sighs a thank you when we leave.
The red couch is the oldest thing in the office.

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I am an author and a Creative Director.

As a full-time creative (VP of Creative Services at Spherical), I spend most days writing in the nooks and crannies of my available time. I wake up at 5:30am just to get in a few hours putting words on paper. I write on the train. I write on planes. I write waiting in lines. I feel I have to write. The reason is simple: representation.

I often tell the story of Ferris Bueller; a kid who decides to skip school and, on charm alone, steals a car, impersonates a cop, drinks underage, tampers with computers, and at every step exposes his best friends to peril, only to go home and fall asleep with his mother to kiss him into sweet dreams. I asked myself if Ferris were Trayvon Martin, how might that story end? I know the answer. So do you. And this is why representation is so important. I aim to contribute more stories into the world that diversely feature regular (but beautiful) lives made extraordinary. Art, I believe, is the only way to accomplish this. All my creative work is inspired by and aims to add to all the great work in the world.