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DSC 598 Theorizing Things

By Vidhyut Jani and Prof BoradkarVidhyut Jani and Prof Boradkar


Practices of representation and perception of material aesthetics (as a language) have witnessed a paradigm shift with the advent of technologically advanced communication mediums. Contemporary technocratic culture with its perception of technology as an ultimate savior renders and in a way demands the unprecedented alteration in relationship between the (contemporary) commodities (owned) and the consumer(owner). As a significant evidence of this shift, the new era of design focuses on the experiential dimension of the designed commodities and their consumption rather than the materiality of the object/product itself. This shift of focus is clearly evident in the representation techniques of the contemporary products. Now, the focus of the representation is the ‘owner ’ rather than the ‘owned’. This paper exemplifies, scrutinizes and analyzes the very same idea and its various facets with the iPod as a case study. Traditionally, representation is an economic practice. According to Paul Du Gay, its aim is to make people buy the product, to increase sales and thus maximize profits. But it is also a cultural practice because, in order to sell, it must first appeal; and in order to appeal, it must engage with the meanings which the product has accumulated and it must try to construct identification between…- the consumers and those meanings (1997). This paper is an attempt to expand and explain the interpretive meaning of the iPod as a ‘designed ’ object by the analysis of selected existing representation variations (followed in various mediums). This study attempts to create a discourse about the relationships between the object and the technocratic cultural landscape in which it operates and interacts. The approach and structure of analysis for the representation material(s) is grounded in and developed upon the theoretical reference(s) derived from deign, economics, media and material culture studies

Year: 2009
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