FILM REVIEW | OBJECTIFIED
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
it is quite EXTRAORDINARY and even OVERWHELMING to consider the level at which we are inundated with industrial designed OBJECT. so much in fact that much of that interaction is not consciously considered or even experienced unless said OBJECT malfunctions or lacks in some aspect that we have come to expect at a base INTUITIVE level (i.e. uncomfortable chair, kitschy furniture, car in an undesired color).
the documentary OBJECTIFIED (PLEXI PRODUCTIONS, 2009) takes a closer look at the INTENTION involved in the careful DESIGNING, SOURCING and MANUFACTURING of modern industrial OBJECTS ranging from CONSUMER ELECTRONICS and FURNITURE to AUTOMOBILES and even SOFTWARE. participants include DESIGNERS from CHRIS BANGLE (BMW), JONATHAN IVE (APPLE), DIETER RAMS (BRAUN), NAOTO FUKASAWA (MUJI), KARIM RASHID, AGNETE ENGA & DAN FORMOSA (SMART DESIGN) and BILL MOGGRIGE (IDEO) among many others. at its core, OBJECTIFIED is an examination of that distance between the INTENTION of a MANUFACTURED physical OBJECT and the implications of such with regard to issues related to SUSTAINABILITY, UTILITY, EFFICIENCY and COMPATIBILITY. DESIGN, the film argues, at its best is not about securing a particularly ADVANTAGIOUS niche in a current MARKETPLACE, but rather a specific consideration for a future more PERFECT world. at its heart is a sense of progress and OPTIMISM not just for the product itself, but how such raises the consciousness and life quality of its user base.
now i am not completely bought in on that rather POLLYANNAISH and QUIXOTIC ideations regarding the spiritually elevatory aspects of material OBJECTS. CAPITALISM has provided participants with the need to differentiate themselves from one another via physical OBJECTS which makes the whole enterprise rather ISOLATING and spiritually BANKRUPT in some respect since it separates people from their COMMUNITY. why else would someone by a third IPHONE in five years other than to keep up with their cohort and secure some type of socially-attributed BENEFIT. the film makes reference that WELL-DESIGNED physical objects are constructed with INTENTION to improved ergonomics and other expanded UTILITIES to the user. such may be the case when DESIGNING improved household items that otherwise cause physical pain due to their repetitive use as currently constructed (i.e. peelers, graters, openers and crushers), but in large products such as AUTOMOBILES, FURNITURE and TECHNOLOGY, the opposite seems to be the case. the UTILITY therein is the newness of the OBJECT, in other words it promotes MINDLESS CONSUMERISM. as humans we have a COGNITIVE BIAS towards new things so this ENDLESS cycle is baked into our sense of IDENTITY and interpersonal relationships within our COMMUNITY.
i dont know how you get out of this hamster wheel. these DESIGNERS would probably argue for a better considered and improved hamster wheel itself. the FINANCIAL IMPERATIVE is the original sin of the whole operation. purchasing more shit we dont need. OBJECTS defining you rather than the other way around. i feel like im turning into NAOMI KLEIN over here.
the film caught me as i am in the midst of a semester in a COMPLICATED SUPPLY CHAIN class in pursuit of an MBA. if anything OBJECTIFIED got me thinking about issues that have been percolating over the past year, so i'm glad i found it and look forward to watching the rest of director GARY HUSTWIT's films (HELVETICA, URBANIZED, WORKPLACE, RAMS, etc.).