Object-oriented identity is a journey through objects and identities. Through curiosity and personal interest, it helps discover the unforeseeable directions in our product-oriented society, where one is no longer the sum of their actions, but the sum of their own objects. ‘Properties from the recent past of our cultural belongings’ is a catalog constructed as a result of my personal fascination with understanding the nature of our consumption. It investigates the odd connections between objects and history and their cultural relevance in our individual and collective identities. Everyday objects are presented through a new lens, for one to show another side of these familiar items, and for another to question how much these objects can transform or manipulate one’s identity. The order and the choice of the objects in the catalog reflect my association with our contemporary culture and my artistic approach to understanding the desire, hate, disgust or pure neglect of those objects that can mean an entire world to someone.
According to professional organizer Regina Lark, there are more than 300,000 objects in an average American home. Our relationship to objects varies between items, but there is no doubt that our perception of these items goes far beyond utility and aesthetics; aside from functionality, our possessions also represent our extended selves. These artifacts provide a sense of the past, tell us about our origins and who we are or who we want to become.
William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, whose ‘Theory of the Self’ included the material self, consisting of things that belong to a person or entities that a person belongs to. He notes, “between what a man calls me and what he simply calls mine the line is difficult to draw.” In the 200 years since his death, our relationship to materialism and goods has grown to the extreme. In the age of Hyper-capitalism, extreme consumerism affects not just our daily life but also changes our identity. Products of the capitalist system more commonly represented than ordinary objects, thus becoming extensions of the self.
What’s the difference between propaganda and public relations? According to Edward Bernays, there is no difference in their intention. Propaganda is used in times of war, while ‘Public Relations’ is a word created for propaganda for times of peace. One has a negative connotation, while the other remains neutral to people, however, both propaganda and public relation aim to manipulate the mass.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.”
I am a designer, someone who creates objects while investigating the value of materials and infusing them with an aspect of my own perception. As a result, I am interested in the non-spoken language of objects and how contemporary culture can understand and relate nonconventional aspects to an item. In the initial stages of my investigation, my main quest was to unravel the unspoken words of our material culture and to understand the transformative process from ordinary object to cultural symbol. The results of this study have led me to insights which I previously had no knowledge of. In the age where artificial intelligence is pushing its way into everyday life and promises fundamental changes to the way in which the world works, we are forgetting about the discourse of non-organic non-human forms where our bodies are partially already replaced by. Products became part of us, they are not only the accessories of the self, but serve as extension of the self, becoming an inseparable part of the body and mind.
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COVID-19 has catalyzed a crucial shift in the way we do business – the way people work, the way organizations run and the business of art and culture.
Moments of crisis often pave the way for social solidarity. The pandemic has allowed western societies a chance to unite, collaborate, and serve. Witnessing the power of collective action can change the way individuals relate to others, resulting in an increased sense of community. This cultural shift from “I” to “we” could have a permanent effect on consumer behavior. If society becomes more community-focused, then so will our shopping habits.
Crisis often reshapes our cultural values and individual psyche. From a marketing perspective, most brands will need to rip up their marketing playbook and radically update their customer personas and communication strategy.
Today, a third of consumers strongly agree with the suggestion that they will reappraise the things they value most and not take certain things for granted. And more than a quarter say they pay more attention to what they consume and what impact it has. Perhaps in our post-crisis world, we will see consumers becoming more mindful about the consequences of their choices?