The Unofficial Archive

Looking at some ways we design consumption and consume design by Peter Donnellan

Looking at some ways we design consumption and consume design

There is an emerging cultural logic, ‘metamodernism’. It says that we are tiring of the ironic and cynical ways of the ’90s and early ’00s, and are now searching to go beyond this. This is not easy, as we are hardwired with this cynical irony. It is what conditions our view of the world. This state of apathy or lack of meaningful action seems an inherent symptom of post-capitalist society, sometimes referred to as ‘reflexive impotence’. There are new forms of expression, “new structures of feelings” that attempt to grasp at a “post-irony, a new sincerity or informed naivety”, and strive towards a sincere form of action. But what is ‘sincere’? It seems that ‘to be sincere becomes a performance’. In the last 10 years, the forms of consumption have changed. The way we identify and consume products and ideas has changed. People now desire to embody things. Mark Leckey said: “I don’t want to look at things, I want to be in them”! The simple activity of shopping seems no longer good enough. People want to rid the old concepts of the product of the old images and ideologies, cut them loose from the networks and contexts that constructed them. They become co-producers, or‘prosumers’. This is where my design takes its cue. My design project intends to give the consumer a more active role in constructing of ideas, ethics and ideologies that surround the product – any product. Through the use of fluctuating images, sound, text and product, the consumer can feel and become part of a production process. Customers are directed to perform, be sincere. The act of consumption becomes an event to remember. From these experiences of products and our consumption new feelings may arise.

Peter Donnellan

www.peterdonnellan.ie