Magic is having supernatural powers over natural forces. Mysticism has manifested throughout history and society, tracing back to ancient Egyptian civilization and Roman cultures. Magic, sorcery, and witchcraft are seen as means for explaining the unexplainable and deciphering the unknown; some would argue the same for religion. Although around before the birth of Jesus Christ, these notions have long been condemn by the Church, seen as false interpretations of God and the embodiment of evil. Along with the rise in Christianity a fear of black magic took a stronghold in Europe during the 14th Century, which later developed into a full blown hysteria across Europe and the Americas between the 1450 and 1700 a.d. With 20 plus witches executed in the 1692-1693 Salem Massachusetts Witch Trails, along with a hundreds or so accused and tried, it is crazy to think the last US witch trial took place only in 1918.
All of this is from thought when shaking the Magic 8 Ball. In case you are unaware, the Magic 8 Ball is a toy in the shape of a larger black billiard 8 ball filled with alcohol and blue dye, contains a polyhedron shape, that when shaken predict's one's future with a yes, no, maybe-so answer in it's clear portal. The conception for this device came about in 1940 or so, when Albert C. Carter was inspired by his mother's clairvoyance. Mrs. Carter used psychography to tap into the subconscious, supernatural, and spiritual worlds. The original design was based on a crystal ball but later morphed into a billiard ball with Brunswick Billiards funding and manufacturing help.
With this historical knowledge and incite, it is safe to assume every Magic 8 Ball beholds magical powers. Whether it is the actual toy or an iPhone app you can be sure the Magic 8 Ball is telling you the truth! Should you gamble everything at the casino? Be ready to pawn your watch, sell your car, and use your house as collateral, because if the Magic 8 Ball says yes, it is all in. Sure this may create potential problems after cheating on your spouse and quitting you job. But who needs those thing, after adapting to the Magic 8 Ball lifestyle, you'll realize the freedom of never having to make a decision again plus knowing answers to all the answers to the worlds' most difficult questions. Be that yes, no, or maybe answers, you'll find sanctity in knowing psychic Carter's mysticism along with Mattel's manufactures in China have your back. The only truth is the Magic 8 Ball, and finding clarity in the nswer you are seeking.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.