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In addition to wanting to develop my work into the shape of a giant wiki, complete with multimedia links and a three-plus-dimensional structure vs. the linear mode of the traditional book, I have a much more mundane and realistic request: I’d like to teach in classrooms with projectors that I can connect my laptop too. I’m at an underfunded state u – at my grad institution this would be fully doable, but not necessarily here.

I need it to show my students stuff like this:

Fantastic, no? Spike Jonze directed it, and yes, I know what it’s in service of so shush. But what an absolutely stunning performance of multiple logics of modernism. “Make it new,” of course – the “you will become your parents if you don’t chuck your parents’ furniture” meme that is always operative withe Ikea, not to mention a very true psycho-genealogical finding about Americans. But then, also, there is the mimed perspectival shift – we “see” the ad from the perspective of an entity which has no perspective – and the perspectivelessness of the lamp is the point. (This is the old Portrait of the Artist trick, where we identify with Stephen only to find him emptied out by the end, full only of trope, a machine that makes bad poetry and false epiphanies…)

It’s all there: the pastiche of obsolete forms, the opening in medias res, the minimally marked “everydayness” of the setting. And of course the shocking turn at the end which, true to form, is not immanent but comes from an interruption from without, and brings not peripeic catharsis but Brechtian estrangement and consciousness. All in the service of selling you a new lamp, encouraging you to fill the landfills with the old one…

So many of the dangers, so much of the promise, of modernism, right here in a thirty second ad. It’s not an ad without products, for we see the new lamp, if only through a wet window brightly. And we see it only, after the change of perspective, in order to laugh at the misery of the passé, the obsolescent, the nostalgically outmoded. An anti-fetishistic solicitation for anti-fetishistic fetishism.

Written by adswithoutproducts

June 27, 2006 at 10:59 pm

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