What began as a simple search for Swank (a non-theatrical movie distributor) ended up as the misspelling Swant, thus leading to the miraculous discovery of sweater pants. Yes, you heard it hear first, although hobos and kids have been rocking sweater pants for years. Adults on the other hand have been a bit apprehensive to public-pubic nudity where the only viable option has a turtleneck. But thanks to the Stephen West there is now an innovative way to DIY a sweater into pants, Swants.
Like West there are a million others nipping and tucking, to create something from nothing. Thanks to the world wide web, there is now a canvas and forum for "Doing Things Yourself". Sure back in the day it was just called "doing something" but today it's DIY baby. Luckily for us there are websites, blogs, TV shows, markets, bazars, classes, and magazines dedicated to DIY. The queen of doing stuff Martha Stewart heated up the glue gun in 1997 to create a few good things. Although complex for certain audiences, stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and MJ Designs thrived in the late 90's early 00;'s. Stewart was a starting point for the marketplace for crafts Etsy and visual discovery (or more like visual overload tool) Pinterest. You have now have a million different ways to wast time; such as how to make a lamp out of a book or plastic spoons, soap with Legos, button trees, or obsessions with food crafts, subway tiles, gnomes, luxury chicken coops, Star Wars, and holiday crap.
Who knew all this DIY crafting would lead to chocolate coated balloons for ice cream bowls, homemade toothpaste, cookie mix in a mason jar, or anything in mason jars, or just plain mason jars, along with handcrafted lip balms and body scrubs. Sure this all sounds rather rudimentary but who doesn't like a handmade gift? I've been giving them for years, and they seem to go over well. Someone took the time and effort to create something for you. For all the superficial sassy lasses it's probably a let down. But thanks to the internet you never have to buy anyone a gift ever again, except for the case of mason jars you're going to need.
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.