Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
New Ideas
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments Posted 02.01.12 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Thackara

Roasted by a Chicken




I did not realise, I swear, that my talk in New York this week, which is about design in a gift economy, will coincide with the city's huge 35,000 visitor International Gift Fair. Someone out there in gift-land is on is on the marketing ball, because they sent me an email the day after my talk was announced.

Perplexed, I risked a peek at the Gift Fair site. Bad idea. The ground fell away. I felt like one of those astronauts, cast adrift in space, floating helplessly away from the mother ship.

The gift fair website took me into a parallel universe that contains the chick-a-dee designer smoke alarm (shown in the photo above). The designer smoke alarm led on to a pink designer shopping cart that someone had left in a laundrette. And that led to the upside down plant pots below...



These "evolved gardening design" artefacts, I was told, will "purify the air, conserve water and transform your view of nature".

Of course they will. In fact, I'm very keen to introduce the upside-down nature team to my own advisor on all things natural, he's shown in the image below:



The talk next Monday, it seems, has become a contest between two different meanings of the word "gift". There's the kind that you pay for and that will transform your view of nature. And there's the kind that you don't pay for which is what I thought everyone meant by a gift economy until received the email about the chicken.

My starting point is this (I quote from the Pratt Institute website): "Jobs and money are in short supply — probably forever. Are there ways that design can add new value to sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, exchanging & swapping?".

Could there be a win-win space that unites us? Come next Monday, and we'll find out.
|
Share This Story

Comments

Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
Read Complete Comments Policy >>


Name             

Email address 




Please type the text shown in the graphic.


|
Share This Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Thackara is a writer, speaker and design producer, and director of Doors of Perception. In addition to this blog, he is the author of twelve books including In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World and Wouldn't It Be Great If….
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS