market things

by

Mateusz and Soo-Young

And so for four years and maybe more they explored and interviewed and analysed. Why are pure-suction vacuum cleaners selling so poorly? What do people of modest origin think of chicory? Do you like ready-made mashed potato and if so, why? Because it’s light? Because it’s creamy? Because it’s easy to make – just open it up and there you are? Do people really reckon baby carriages are expensive? Aren’t you always prepared to fork out a bit extra for the good of the kids? Which way will French women vote? Do people like cheese in squeezy tubes? Are you for or against public transport? What do you notice first when you eat yoghurt? – the colour? the texture? the taste? natural odour? … Do you like frozen food? How much do you think a lighter like this costs, eh? What do you look for in a mattress? Describe a man who likes pasta. What do you think of your washing machine? …

There was washing, drying, ironing. Gas, electricity and the telephone. Children. Clothes and underclothes. Mustard. Packet soups, tinned soups. Hair: how to wash it, how to dry it, how to make it hold a wave, how to make it shine. Students, fingernails, cough syrup, typewriters, fertilizers, tractors, leisure pursuits, presents, stationary, linen, politics, motorways, alcoholic drinks, mineral water, cheeses, jams, lamps and curtains, insurance and gardening. Nil humani alienum… Nothing that was human was outside their scope.

-Georges Perec, Things: A Story of the Sixties

The protagonists of Perec’s novel work as market researches in 1960s France. They gather people’s opinions of things and their stories connected with things to better sell them. In our presentation we want to play with the idea of collaboration as a way of understanding relationships between people and things by looking at contemporary consumer markets. We will use stories from market research as a point of entry.

To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.

-Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

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