With bombarding consumer experiences such as Fry’s
Electronics and EBay,
we are constantly being pulled in endless purchasing directions.
The choices seem infinite, but they are not. They are preselected
experiences promising to add to a lifestyle that is entirely made
up of fantasy where kids are “cool”, Boomers are young
again and everyone is surrounded by stuff. This “stuff”
firmly establishes a new design profession employing a large group
of an ever-growing world population where the profession itself
is growing at a rapid rate. I walk down the halls of Art
Center College of Design past the work oozing off the walls,
collages of scribbles splashed in the interiors of each classroom,
and the best-of-the-best sparkling in the gallery. Each piece, with
its perfected lines, color palette and composition, competing to
penetrate our over-saturated consumer-oriented culture while hoping
to succeed in the exponentially growing spectacle.
How does the future of design stop the momentum of this phenomenon?
“Just like philosophy the moment it achieved its full independence,
every discipline, once it becomes autonomous, is bound to collapse
- in the first place as an attempt to offer a coherent account of
the social totality, and eventually even as a partial methodology
viable within its own domain.” (Guy
Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, p. 131) To approach
a solution for our “spectacular” cultural phenomenon
we must redefine the process of consumerism altogether before we
run out of natural resources and the entire system collapses. Instead
of branding “cool”, creating products that destroy the
natural environment for personal monetary gain and advocating unhealthy
consumerism, designers can focus their efforts toward developing
systems that allow consumers to actively make their own decisions.
These systems empower passive consumers into active ones. They protect
the quality of life from becoming the character in Pride’s
and provide the choice of what to consume rather than forcing upon
us products that already exist or that have no real value other
than making money. Unless we address this, “we humans may
well be on [the] way to our own extinction.” (Kalle
Lasn, Culture Jam, p. 88) Until then, I continue to
walk through the bowels of the spectacular machine.