From a semiological perspective, objects (such as things we buy or wear) are signs. We can analyze the signifying aspects of the object to see what it reflects about the culture in which it is found. Examine print catalogs or complete an Internet search for a generic product (automobile, couch, pen, boat, jacket, coffee pot, a gadget or think of something else). Then do a more intensive search for a distinctive item or consumer object within that category.
Assignment Vis-Lit: Consumer Object
Post an example (scanned from a print source or send us to a website) of a distinctive consumer object that you believe to be rich in meaning and an important sign.
Use the following questions as guidelines for the discussion:
Draw on Berger’s model, “Eight Hypotheses on the Significance of Digital Watches,” and offer some speculations about the object. In what ways does the object reflect the values, hopes and passions of its culture? What does it reveal about its wearer or consumer? To what degree is the power of fashion and trends implied? How significant is the link between aesthetics and function?