Monday, December 1, 2008

I love that leaf and that refrigerator

Walking back from Cameron's, that funky old book store on SW Third, and I spot this interesting leaf. It reminded me of an assignment I once gave the art directors at VCU, when I asked them to photograph an object in nature and then extract a design lesson from it.

The design lesson I get from this is how hierarchy and symmetry create order, and how contrast and complimentary colors attract attention. And something about context. The leaf was spotted on one of Chinatown's nastier sidewalks, which is what made me notice it in the first place.

As I was taking the photo, two young urban toughies walk by and one says to me, sort of tauntingly, You like that leaf? "I love it!" I told him.

At Cameron's I was looking for visual references for the OCH conversation thing I'm leading on Wednesday. I was looking for examples of how 1950s advertising created models that shaped our consuming habits, defined 'normal' behavior and helped build the post-war economy.

It will be interesting to see what role, if any, advertising plays in creating models and shaping behavior in the new economic age we are entering.


Anonymous said...

The thing that always strikes me about advertising pre-1960 is the overt storytelling. It all seems pretty up-front and though I certainly sense some embellishment it doesn't seem deceptive.

I found it interesting what you said in an earlier post about post-consumer society – that the desire for stuff will be replaced with a connection through experience. I see it happening at Burning Man (no money, expression and connection through experience) but what about the wider world? What is the model? Is it a sort of tribalism?

I would love to hear your talk on Wednesday – I have a conflict but I might be able to make the end.


Timothy said...

Interesting - I've noticed an uptick in ads remarking on the tough economy - "in times like these who would shop at a department store?" etc. Nowadays we're trying to normalize being poorer and help us have an excuse to shop at a different tier of stores (that we might have turned our noses up at when we were flush). I wonder what they'll be saying in a few months - will prices come down on formerly luxurious goods? Will high end stores have new offerings? Right now we're all in this together - but as belts tighten will we all still feel so human? Similar tack in england during WW2 - mend and make do, holidays at home etc - sense of comradery lasted for years. Feels like it might take a while to shed the hangover from the good times...