• Explore the ways in which design and architecture generate and excite consumer culture or commercial exchange.
• Chose 4 examples of commercial space (or particular design objects found within them.) and critique the role they play in arousing the consumer subject.
• These examples can be current, historic, fictitious, science fiction, dystopian or utopian.
• Your answer should show evidence of a wide range of research sources for each case study and its cultural context. It should also engage with existing literature on the opportunities and dangers presented to the subject by popular and consumer cultures. It should be richly illustrated and position your case studies in a substantial archive of visual materials.
• Your answer must begin with a firm hypothesis about how your case studies produce consumers (be they active, passive, enabled or entrapped) and must end with a well-supported conclusion about their merits and demerits, similarities or conflict.
Explore 4 commercial spaces/objects (e.g luxury clothes shop, its window display, layout of the shop and products. Retail space at home e.g Ebay). Choose something particular in each, explore them and compare them in detail and in great depth. How do they work, what they do to the people that use their space. How do they get people in, keep their attention, encourage people to spend their money-what sorts of assumptions and presuppositions in the design are made about who the shop wants to attract (i.e what gender, class, identities...) ( “I can afford to buy rolex-I want to be seen buying, I am showing my status.”
Émile Zola, The ladies' paradise (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1995)
Fredric Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society"
Judith Williamson “Decoding advertisements”
John Fiske “popular culture”
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