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Abigail Row already had a sofa. This is inherited from her ex-boyfriend’s brother. Like most of her furniture, it was free and practical, and a placeholder for more stylish pieces she would buy someday.

But one day she arrived earlier than she expected. In 2018, Rowe was browsing the free content section of Craigslist when he saw the perfect sofa, a bulging pink love sheet shaped like a pig.

The upholstery was shiny and almost smooth, as if the pig gently refused to sit on it. His eyes were open and he was a little depressed. The tail, a slightly unraveled thread protruding from the back, looked like a retrofit when compared to the carefully carved hooves.

Pigs are expressive and trampled, said Rowe, 25. It looks attractive.

The person who posted the list of sofas claimed to be a furniture artist named Andrew who was vacating the studio space. The ad said he would hand out a pig couch to anyone who could elaborate on what that meant to them.

Mr. Rowe replied to the post with a poem. When Andrew didn’t respond immediately, she began to doubt his intentions. Searching with images revealed her fears. This is a 2016 ad claiming that sofas are available in Nashville. There was another suggestion that you could pick up a pig sofa in Boca Raton, Florida.

Finally, Andrew sent back a text message, claiming he was set up. After getting angry when Andrew learned that he wasn’t vegan, a woman I met at OkCupid posted an ad and included his phone number. He claimed in a message to Mr. Rowe that the New York Times read.

Rowe has fallen into a series of Craigslist scams. For at least five years, people have claimed to have used the site to sell or transfer this particular pig sofa, according to an old list unearthed by Rowe. It’s unclear if any of the posters are benefiting from the venture or just engaging in easy-going performance art. (Some ads were posted on April Fool’s Day.)

On Tuesday, the pig sofa reappeared, this time in New York City. I read a post on Craigslist, a unique pig sofa. My boyfriend and I bought it for over 11k and sold it for $ 250, even though it was untouched. My new boyfriend hates it, so someone needs to pick it up as soon as possible, and sadly this is unnegotiable for him.

The person behind the New York list, Marisol Martinez, has a history of benevolent trolling on Craigslist.

In 2011 or 2012, Martinez was dissatisfied with his commute from Manhattan to Brooklyn and couldn’t remember posting an ad asking someone to boat across the East River. She wouldn’t stick to the set schedule, she said in an ad, and the ride had to be free. Certain conversation topics are off limits. Some people called her arrogant and answered angry. Others wrote her poems. Some asked if she would tip for gas.

According to Martinez, it proves the absurdity of a city with so many strange people. It was a good start to understand that you can bring things into the city in search of things. Also, people harass you.

She moved on to another easy post. One is disguised as a snail trying to upgrade to a larger shell and rent an older shell. (Perfect for adolescent gastropods trying to expand their living space while avoiding predators. You’ll love the unusual left-handed spirals, steep openings, and funky asymmetric swirls.) In another example, she Promoted the service as a fragmented awareness engineer. Offer to repair people’s broken brains.

According to Martinez, Im is, by definition, a scammer. I was posting something that wasn’t true.

She came across a pig sofa while helping her friend search for a statement sofa online, and was immediately drawn to its anxious texture and melancholy face. According to Martinez, a sofa with a face is likely to see something from a biological point of view.

By posting a fake ad, she didn’t try to steal someone’s cash. Instead, she wanted to uplift the spirit of her fellow New Yorkers during the fierce mass nightmare of 2020.

Martinez thought about creating a suspicious but shared-valued or interesting post to make people happy with the strangeness of the city. I definitely don’t want to spend money on someone or waste someone’s time here trying to buy a sofa.

Her post caught the eye of Mr. Rowe, who has a hobby of cataloging pig posts. It also caught the attention of Pavia Burroughs, a 31-year-old fiber artist from Philadelphia who created the pig sofa itself.

First of all, Mr. Burroughs wants the world to know that it is a chair, not a sofa.

His names are Hill Hock, a portmanteau of Hillock, a small hill on which he sits, and Ham Hock, a cut of pork. He is hand-sewn from velvet and satin, stuffed with foam, and is surprisingly lightweight despite being bulky.

He was originally part of a living room set that included rugs, side tables, and lamps that Burroughs presented in 2011 as part of his sculptural dissertation. The rugs made of paper were intended to look like soil. Paper flowers, myrtle, and blood roots grew in it and climbed the myrtle. The fiber root structure flowed out from one side of the side table. The lamp was an ordinary lamp.

Inspired by Kit Williams’ picture book, Masquerade, Burroughs scrutinized as a kid. One page depicts an elderly man sitting on a pig, playing the violin with tears from one eye.

Mr. Burroughs exhibited the chair and tried to sell it. She didn’t win many takers, so she lowered the price. Several furniture blogs have posted pictures of her work.

Oddly, she said there was a first life in which a blog became viral with a laugh. When I finally sold it, it fell into this strange viral of people pretending to sell it.

Hillhook’s final public offering price was $ 950, but Burroughs said he remembered bartering up to about $ 500. The buyer’s name was Matt, or Mike from her memory, and he was like a businessman. He drove from Maryland and picked up a chair she had in her room that she used to store dirty laundry.

Almost 10 years later, Burroughs is still making art. It may be a little frustrating, but almost interesting, that such an old work has become her most famous work.

Pig sofas now belong to the internet. I don’t own it because it’s bigger than me, Mr. Burroughs said. Was the Craigslist post genuine? Does it actually travel the whole country?

Hillhook is still in Maryland. The buyer, a cybersecurity executive named Martin Roesch, drove a pig sofa straight from Philadelphia to the office of his start-up, Sourcefire. Roeschs created a software called Snort. It sniffed packets of internet traffic to detect threats, and its mascot was a pig.

This was awesome, and I was like, god, I had to have it, Roesch said. I think it’s because of my eyes that I have such a lonely face. I think it’s more cute than sad. His employees were in a fuss when he installed a chair in his office.

Sourcefire was acquired by Cisco in 2013, and Hillhock moved with the company to the Cisco office in Maryland, where the chair was placed in a conference room, Roesch said. I saw people sitting from time to time, but he said he thought it was a more conversational piece at that point.

Roesch left Cisco last year and said the work was rented to a former employer. Roesch has received several offers to buy a sofa since his recent turn as a viral sensation. He is considering them.

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