fbpx
16/09/2019 Communication Science news and articles

Everything Not Saved Will be Lost

As our lives today are intertwined with that of the objects we are surrounded by, Ada dives into minimalism, decluttering and downsizing.


The sentence “everything not saved will be lost” might evoke a sense of familiarity in some of you. While it initially related to video games saving screens, and specifically to Nintendo’s, it has come to symbolise an entire society’s attitude towards life and being. Human life is undeniably intertwined with that of the objects we surround ourselves with. Acknowledging but setting aside objects’ supportive role in our evolution, what is most interesting is how they have evolved to embody meaning in themselves. Throughout history, they have been symbols of sophistication and expressed status and even individual personalities. However, in the last decade our attitude to “stuff” has been slowly but surely challenged by the cultural wave of minimalism, decluttering and downsizing.

The Society of the Spectacle.
It would be a great shortcoming on my part to analyse this “minimalist” cultural wave without ever mentioning Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle. In his book, the french philosopher discloses the central concepts of degradation of human life and commodity feticism. Most importantly, Debord names our current culture as one based on appearance and representations of social engagement, as everything that we once lived is now only representation. In my personal opinion, his view is certainly relevant, but outdated. As the society of the spectacle has taken over, appearance as become most important thus diminishing the importance of matter itself. The driving force behind both the previous mindset of “having” and the slowly rebuilding one of “being” is the impulse to make the intangible, tangible. In our search to experience the abstract, in the past we have relied on the concept of a buyable lifestyle, trusting that we could purchase what we wanted from life in form of symbols.

Aspirational Associations
With this mindset in mind, marketing becomes incredibly relevant. Aspirational association or the connecting of our desires and wishes to, in this case, objects has been incredibly prominent in advertising since Marlboro introduction of lifestyle advertising. If one were to analyse today’s advertisements critically it would be quite clear how companies are now trying to sell us experiences and lifestyles rather than objects. Your wish to be happy and healthy is what makes you buy a certain brand of yogurt, even though the ad only showed a happy and healthy family. Minimizing and its relation to our “stuff” can also be clearly seen in advertisement. Image promotion is particularly relevant when talking about this wave. Entire brands, such as Muji, have been marketed and branded around the absence of objects rather than the objects they sell. Thus the paradox of owning less things and having less cluttered lives is being sold to us by companies trying to make us own more things is created.

Marie Kondo
In this mess of a societal context, in which we wish to go back to a life of “being” and not “having”, Marie Kondo shines as a leader. As Chris Lehmann stated, the KonMari Method developed as a “movement to orient us more serenely amid our storehouses of stuff”. The Japanese writer, now protagonist of a TV show, introduced the world to the joy of decluttering and getting rid of objects. The organising consultant makes use of and challenges our desire to possess tangible proof of our ephemeral experiences. We wish to own books we have already read as a reminder of that meaningful moment, which, according to Kondo, will still be embedded in our memory and being, regardless of our possession of the physical book. Kondo did not create the movement by herself but only built on a pre-existing wish held by mainly middle-class people. 

The Appearance of Less
We have thus established how, according to Debord at least, we live in a society where appearances are fundamental. Additionally, humans have always shown an inclination for collecting mementos, physical and symbolic embodiments of ephemera experiences. Recently, there has been a movement focussing on reducing the stuff that we have collected so far as a species and as individuals. Marketing professionals have thus fished from this ideology of “less if better” to promote a more superficial “appearance of less”. The creation of tiny homes, which have financial and ecological reasons behind it, also shows how we are fascinated by the spectacle of less. On a more media level, Baudrillard’s System of Objects stated that we live in modern houses of glass, where the outside world penetrates our domestic universes as a spectacle. Applying this concept to our tentatives to collect experiences, our online lives have been supplementing that. Social media show images as a way to collect and show transience. We window shop online for inspiring experiences and behaviours, collecting and curating potential lives. However, what the minimalism and decluttering movement shows is the possibility that hyper-consumerism culture might be on its way out, as we we seek more meaningful experiences in life.

Cover: Pexels / Paula Schmidt  / Final editor: Eva de Boer

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

Film Pride: How Northern Ireland and Singapore Handles Fame

02/09/2019

02/09/2019

Angela went along on the study trip to Dublin and Belfast. How do the cities cope with their fame achieved from series and movies?

Ierland is een feniks die zal herrijzen uit de as

30/08/2019

30/08/2019

De een kan niet een heel land bereiken en de ander heeft een te oubollig marketing beleid. Twee bedrijven die voor hun eigen uitdagingen staan.

World capital of street art & graffiti? – It’s probably Belfast

22/08/2019

22/08/2019

Written by: AJ Kutlu here are two things that you are exposed to the most when you visit Belfast: People...

Hoe propaganda twee partijen steeds verder uit elkaar drijft

18/08/2019

18/08/2019

Fabian dook in de politieke spanningen tussen Ierland en Noord Ierland. Propaganda is daarbij niet te vermijden.

PR-Disaster or opportunity? The influence of #Brexit in Ireland

18/08/2019

18/08/2019

The Brexit will have a big influence on companies in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Kelly explains why a good PR will be more important than ever before.

Protesten aan de Ierse grens: wat betekent de Brexit voor Ierland?

16/08/2019

16/08/2019

Het bekende Goede Vrijdag-akkoord diende een vredige oplossing te bieden voor de strijd tussen Ierland en Noord-Ierland. De huidige ontwikkelingen rondom de Brexit brengen dit echter in gevaar. Quinta beschrijft de situatie, hoe deze is ontstaan en welke rol de Brexit hierin speelt.

Why won’t Ed Sheeran sell me a chair?

12/08/2019

12/08/2019

Marketing agencies are using celebrities very often, but during the company visit at Morrow Communications, Joanna learnt there is a shift going on from celebrities to social media influencers.

Entertainment uit de Oudheid viert hoogtijdagen in het digitale tijdperk

10/08/2019

10/08/2019

Een Ierse tour-guide die met zijn manier van vertellen laat zien dat de klassieke retoriek nog niet verloren is in het digitale tijdperk zoals wij dat kennen. Kevin vertelt over Patrick en zijn tour in Dublin.

Why Northern Ireland plays a key role in Brexit

10/08/2019

10/08/2019

Sjors travelled to Northern Ireland and saw the remains of The Troubles. What role does Northern Ireland play in a possible Brexit?

Ada Varriale – a first-year communication science student

24/06/2019

24/06/2019

Join us as we get to know a little more about first year Communication Science student, Ada.

The downfall of Vero

22/06/2019

22/06/2019

Our brand new writer Jade on the downfall of Vero. Why was it the most promising social media platform? And why was it not able to beat Facebook?

The Day I Broke My Smartphone

21/06/2019

21/06/2019

Could you go a day without your smartphone?

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

20/06/2019

20/06/2019

For this week's review, Karina tells you what she thinks about the popular book (and series) the Handmaid's Tale.

Congrats on being phubbed!

18/06/2019

18/06/2019

Phubbing is something we experience a lot in current society. Medium elaborates the negative consequences and gives you also advices how to stop phubbing.

The Dutch Hunger Games: Room-seeking struggles in the Netherlands

15/06/2019

15/06/2019

One minute on Facebook and the fight is on: “Pick me”. “I’m clean and sociable”. “I can pay extra rent”. “PM sent”. “Check your PM”. “Love me”. “Save me from homelessness”. Welcome to a normal day in the life of a student searching for a room in Amsterdam.

EnjoyInstagram