Stuff: Irresistible Products
Designers produce artifacts for multiple reasons that range from the idealism that shifts our thinking about how to create a more just world to satisfying the profit motive and search for design celebrity. Our online magazines, books, buildings, cell phones and shoes often work to construct desire. This seminar is a theory-based examination, through a contemporary lens, of influential artifacts from late twentieth/early twenty-first popular culture. We will evaluate the complex influence we exert on popular culture and its equally forceful influence on us. Artifact needs representation. Representation becomes desire. Guided by important (mostly late) 20th century texts and an examination of star-quality artifacts, we will critique production, consumption, and representation, while questioning the distinction between want and need. The readings provide a critical understanding of design and consumption, and the changing urban behaviors that result in endless surfaces made available for the image through phenomena such as "station domination" and "egg-vertising." The reader for this seminar deals with artifacts from a variety of design media and suggests connections among artifact, image, and popular consumer culture.