Monday, 10 September 2007

A Mass Produced Reality


I've spent the past week living with a friend in London. We live in a marvellous space overlooking a square that changes its character with every minute as the sun, the clouds, and the day moves on. We've come to appreciate our little morning routine of sitting on the balcony, eating pain au chocolates, discussing life, and sneering at the people below. I'll miss these mornings, and it almost makes me want to resist the inescapable arrival of the next little routines I'll develop in place of this one.

Looking over a square with people on their way to work, wearing their suits and carrying their briefcases, we wondered about the uniformity of modern life and the human longing for uniqueness and creativity. Most of what we eat, furnish our homes with, and wear today, is mass-produced. The human touch on these things has decreased to a bare minimum. We live in a world of mass produced homes, objects, even experiences. It's like with the suits and the working hours - the rough lines of the daily flow leaves little room for independent creativity and feeling of being in control. It's as though we all hopped onto a big assembly line and now can't really afford to get off.


This is not to say that the quality of the mass produced objects is necessarily lower than those produced in limited numbers. Often great design stands behind the assembly lines and though it's hard to admit, if not for them, we probably wouldn't have it as good as we do. Unfortunately, personalised design and limited numbers usually mean higher shelf prices, which raises the red flag for most. However, there seems to be an increasingly vibrant market populated by people searching for foods that taste good and clothes that don't appear in every town of the developed world. The strive for individualism, tactility of design, and texture is increasing and more and more people supply these objects and experiences. The uniqueness and the closer interaction with the source of a given object somehow give people more contact with themselves, even if all they can determine is what their table or t-shirt looks like. It gives them a feeling of control and uniqueness, not to mention the style.

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Melahn said...
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