Homo Shopus: The Buyological Urge

Vancouver, Canada based Adbusters have been culture jamming for quite some time now,  and they describe themselves thus – “We are a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.” No mean challenge to take on, especially with late capitalist manifestations of corporate power excesses and top down flows of information. I have been an Adbusters follower for many years now, and what drew me first to them was their more than unconventional approach to magazine layout and design (everything that the ‘Time’ is not, if you know what I mean), and of course with convincing content that I find resonances in, it did become a regular fix. Here is a sampling of Adbusters posters dubbed ‘Homo Shopus: The Buyological Urge.’ Take a look.

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Lewis Hine (Sociologist & Photographer): Child Labour 1908-1924

I encountered sociologist Lewis Hine’s hard hitting body of photographic work (from the early 20th C) quite a few years back, and the images stayed on. Like Eugene Smith much later, Hine’s camera was a camera with a conscience, powerful enough to be a catalyst for social reform. Documenting the end of innocence of children employed in factories, cotton mills, coal mines and households across the USA. 1908-1924.

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Royal College of Art: Design Products: Foldboat

Design students Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies were both studying for their Masters degrees in the Design Products programme at the Royal College of Art when they conceived the Foldboat. In a paper furniture workshop they started to understand origami techniques and they wanted to use these techniques to create a functional product. The boat is folded from a 8ft by 5ft piece of plastic and can be transformed from a flat sheet to a rowing boat by a single person in under three minutes using only three components. ‘You just fold it, clip it together then push it out into the water.’ If this was made affordable, the Foldboat could be of considerable use in flood prone areas.

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America Revealed: Incredible Satellite Imagery

Incredible satellite images reveal what the USA looks like from the skies, and how its transport and communication infrastructures work to power the nation on a daily basis. (Pizza delivery included) :-)

1. These lines show the unpublicised transportation of dead bodies, some clearly being repatriated to their home states from America’s retirement mecca state of Florida.

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Du Pont Cellophane: Advertisements 1930-1950

Cellophane was a novelty once, and Du Pont pushed very hard to propagate the ‘cellophane’ idea, and were convinced that the way to reach households is through housewives, and the way to reach housewives is through baby imagery. Babies, condom analogies and appeals to clothesline snatchers. A lesson in why it may not be such a good idea to push too hard. Take a look. 1930-1950. “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry”.

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