Reading: Images + Other Stuff by Mark Linder 

He writes, "Thus what we today conceive reductively as branding or lifestyle are for Rancière potential arenas for dissensual politics."  ....which was essentially my thesis argument.



The majority of what we consume as media is in fact advertising.  We can all identify with ease when we are being explicitly advertised to but I argue that over 75% of the media we consume online and in magazines is in fact advertising, not informational content.  I find this especially true in the world of design, pretty images of pretty products motivated by the desire to get you + me to spend our money.  Is design so complicit in this system because trends move fast?  Does it bother me more when it occurs in design because in many cases design (at this level) fulfills a transcendental need more than a functional need?  Are we all just monkeys hungry for the novelty of a new shiny aesthetic object?

I was turning over in my mind the reasons why so many lifestyle and life coaching websites / blogs / podcasts make me snark.  The main reason I'm concluding, is that the "service" they offer is so soft.  There’s a wide variety on the scale of soft services but in general I find that they are selling "services" aimed toward lifestyle perfection.  If their content (i.e. advertising) is not literally and explicitly saying in bold 18 pt font, “Our product is the best, buy it here!” then the underlying message your brain interprets is “My life would be better if owned that.” And that is advertising.


Leaving room for random

At work last week I was trying to figure out how two different bookcases, made from two different materials, and with two different underlaying logics, would meet at a corner.  I modeled, I sketched, I stared off into space and pondered.  I even thought about it while showering and again laying in bed.  It had me totally stumped.  There is a solution, I just haven’t discovered it yet, is what I thought to myself.

But what if the solution is to leave out one of the bookshelves entirely, allowing the clients' to fill that space over time as they find unique pieces they are drawn to?  Is the best design solution is to not design anything?  To leave room, figuratively and literally, for the unplanned and unexpected?



There will soon be clever and witty, curious and polemic, thoughtful and discerning observations made on the intersection of design and culture in these blocks.  80% of of doing the work is showing up.  I'm working on showing up.