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GRAPHIC DESIGN THESIS
BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS
MAY 2013

Concept, code and design
by Christine Røde

Created at
CALIFORNIA COLLEGE OF THE ARTS

Copyright ©2013

MYTH OF TECH UTOPIANISM ON PRODUCTS & ADVERTISING INTRODUCTION
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.
Consequieter dos amigos.
There was a time when life was simple,
fig # 1.0 on rules and ultimates

Le Corbusier's 5 Points
of Modern Architecture

  1. Pilotis – The replacement of supporting walls by a grid of reinforced concrete columns that bears the load of the structure is the basis of the new aesthetic.
  2. Roof gardens – The flat roof can be utilized for a domestic purpose while also providing essential protection to the concrete roof.
  3. The free designing of the ground plan – The absence of supporting walls means that the house is unrestrained in its internal usage.
  4. The free design of façade – By separating the exterior of the building from its structural function the façade becomes free.
  5. The horizontal window – The façade can be cut along its entire length to allow rooms to be lit equally.
fig # 1.1 the naivete of structuralism

Fig # 1.1
MAKING A SCIENCE OF HUMANITIES

Aligned to the values of modernism was Structuralism. Pioneered by Frenchmen such as linguist Ferdinand Saussere, anthropologist CLAUDE LÉVI-STRAUSS and philosopher ROLAND BARTHES, structuralism can be seen as an honest attempt at making a science out of the humanities. By endlessly categorizing, labelling and structuring everything from sociology, anthropology, literary criticism and psychology, structuralists sought to legitimize the field of human studies. In the spirit of modernism, they believed in the universal truth, and the ability to make comprehensive rules and categories to encompass everything.
It was over by the late 1960s, replaced by fragmented post-modernity. Turns out, the human brain couldn't be broken into clean table cells.
 
and communication was real-time
or very slow.
Television was

fig # 1.3
The Creators of Culture

Culture was dead before World War II had even ended. When Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer published DIALECTIC OF ENLIGHTEN- MENT in 1944, they predicted the development of mainstream culture for the century to come. "Culture is no longer created in the streets," they wrote. Instead, the Culture Industry, from movie studios to book publishers, manufactures popular culture with the goal of rendering people docile and content. Using mass communications media, a false psychologic need is created, one that can only be satisfied by products of capitalism.
fig # 1.2 leave it to beaver

fig # 1.2
TELEVISION, ESCAPISM, AND NORMALCY

In its "Golden Age," television served as a kind of social training film; sitcoms like Leave It to Beaver, The Donna Reed Show and Father Knows Best were all prime-time staples that taught Americans newly arrived in the suburbs from city tenements how to act middle-class. Leave it to Beaver has become an icon of stable family life, providing audiences with a simple world of small human foibles and no great issues -- the quaint utopia that requires no thinking or judgement, and provides an hour-long escape from reality after a hard day at the factory.
 
fig # 1.4 max horkenheimer & theodoro lorem

FIG # 1.4
THE CULTURE INDUSTRY

Culture today is infecting everything with sameness. Film, radio, and magazines form a system. Each branch of culture is unanimous within itself and all are unanimous together. They are subordinated to one end and subsumed under one false formula: the totality of the culture industry. The deceived masses of today are captivated by the myth of success even more than the successful are. Immovably, they insist on the very ideology which enslaves them. There is nothing left for the consumer to classify, because the producer has done it for him.
–HORKENHEIMER, ADORNO: ENLIGHTENMENT AS MASS DECEPTION (1944)
so the media perpetuated homogeneity.
fig # 1.7 levittown, new york

fig # 1.7
"LITTLE BOXES ON THE HILLSIDE…"

As the first and one of the largest mass-produced suburbs, Levittown quickly became a symbol of postwar suburbia. Although Levittown provided affordable houses in what many residents felt to be a congenial community, critics decried its homogeneity, blandness, and racial exclusivity (the initial lease prohibited rental to non-whites). Today, "Levittown" is used as a term to describe overly sanitized suburbs consisting largely of identical housing, a symbol for conformity and the technology that allowed for its mass-production.
fig # 1.6 the nuclear family

fig # 1.6
ON NORMALCY AND SAMENESS

In the 1950's the normative American family consisted of a breadwinner father, homemaker mother, and several children, all living in homes in the suburbs on the outskirts of a larger city. It was a narrow view of a model family, yet it pervaded the media and was widely accepted as the ideal and most normal. Few sociological metaphors have ever been as successful as that of the nuclear family, which entered the language in 1949.
Now, for the first time, fewer than a quarter of the households in this country are made up of nuclear families -- 23.5 percent to be exact, down from 25.6 percent in 1990 and 45 percent in 1960. Also, for the first time, the number of people living alone is greater than the number of nuclear families.
fig # 1.5 two parents, 2.45 children and 0.95 dogs

Happiness is a Reflection

"…you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams assurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay."
— Don Draper, Mad Men
Then came the internet,
fig # 1.8 the connected earth
bringing individuality
to the masses.
fig # 1.9 fandom is older than the world wide web

FIG # 1.9
TIMELINE OF THE INTERNET & FANDOM

USENET
fig # 1.10 alt.tv.xfiles

FIG # 1.10
USENET & FANDOM

Before the was a World Wide Web, there was Usenet. Usenet was structured like a mailing list with different groups, and became available to AOL subscribers in 1993. For fandoms like Star Trek and X-Files, it effectively replaced the use of physical zines for information distribution. Usenet helped foster individual interests, providing hardcore fans with an outlet for their interests and creating communities of like-minded. Fox Mulders of the world united at last.
Ads are no longer
targeted to everybody.
Somewhere along the line, you stopped being the user.
You became
the product.
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