Design von Stephan Thiel
»Beyond Fetishism. The Culture of Things in Consumerism«
Describing consumerism as a fetish declares a double suspicion. Consumerism is, on the one hand, a diffusely religious, inexplicably magical phenomenon; on the other hand, one brings consumerism near the pathological. Is it not a power that creates emotional dependencies and perverse shifts in priorities? This double suspicion, or perhaps just resentment, is articulated in terms like »brand cult« and »shopping frenzy«. In any case – and this is the starting point of the lecture – the equation of »goods« and »fetish« brings alternative descriptions of consumerism to light. Why, for example, should not products be valued as creations of high culture? And what happens if you declare consumer goods the apex of scientific awareness, an instrument of self-reflection or as desires come true?
Wolfgang Ullrich is a professor for fine arts and media theory at the Academy of Design in Karlsruhe. He also works as a freelance author and management consultant for brand, image and trend research. Among his last book publications are Bilder auf Weltreise. Eine Globalisierungskritik (Berlin 2006), Habenwollen. Wie funktioniert die Konsumkultur? (Frankfurt am Main 2006), and Gesucht: Kunst! Phantombild eines Jokers (Berlin 2007).
A cooperation with the Collège international de philosophie in Paris under the auspices of the »Fetish + Consumption« event series.