Bathing is a tradition attached to the human experience. Ancient Roman and Greek civilizations had public and private baths, where it was common to for the wealthy to bath at home and others to use the public baths. During the Middle Age bathing got a bad reputation, believing to cause death by rampant diseases and misguided medicine. With time came industrialization where indoor plumbing and a market flush with toiletries made bathing and showering somewhat of a cultural norm.
There has never been more opportune time to bath; you have Jacuzzi jets, pillows, sprayers, rain-like shower heads, shower radios, sponges, loofahs, gloves, soaps, foams, salts, bubbles, and of course the bath bomb. No this isn't an explosion device for your tub, far from it. It is basically the "Alka Seltzer" of bath products, where a three inch diameter ball dissolves in the tub over the course of two minutes, leaving behind an oily-fuzzy-foggy residue with a potpourri like accouterments, consisting mainly of twigs, dried flowers, and God only know's what. Of course Japanese bath bomb had to one-up this ridiculous invention, by revealing some sort of trinket or little toy inside after fizzling out. More importantly there are entire stores dedicated to the bath bomb.
So if sitting in a tub filled to the brim with your own filth wasn't enough, the bath bomb will exceed your expectations by having-never made you dirtier. Imagine converting your bathtub to a less spiritual version of the Ganges. It's hard to say, but some may believe Orville Redenbacher, Jim Morrison, and Whitney Houston all drowned as a result of being bombed in the tub (an intoxicated heart-attack followed by drowning), but in fact they were so displeased with the bath bomb they just simply fell asleep, dying of boredom, drowning with the fishes in a pool of their own filth.
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.