By: MAC Lilián González
The “Envelope”, this we love in objects. What contains the object of desire, the guardian of such valuable possession. Why has this guardian become so important? Every time we have more specialists developing only the “wrapper”, or the packaging , as they also call it.
At least 50 years ago, still in stores you could buy things “in bulk”, and when they were small things like candies or gummies they put them in a “cornet”, which was basically a cone formed with a piece of paper or newspaper. Evidently, capitalism has transformed every object we consume to make it more desirable, more competitive or “salable” in a few words.
We are extremely susceptible to beauty, so we continually fall into the deception that hides the “wrap”, “the little box of lies”, which, based on insightful lures of advertising, throws into the market the supposed object of “desire”.
What does the wrap, which is so attractive ?, the “Cultural Industry” (term coined by Adorno and Horkheimer), has been responsible for generating fascinating and alienating formulas for society, playing with the stereotypes of beauty. It sounds malefic and apparently it is, when we understand that the big consortiums only do it to generate more power and enrichment at the expense of the impoverishment and exploitation of workers, society and the environment.
We see then saturated packages of nutritional information, images that project us what we should be or look like, things that say they look like but are not. The packaging is everything we buy, since the content is what it seems to be according to advertising, although the content is not, we live delighted buying food packaged in bags and plastic, which are also highly toxic.
The envelope that has to do with “give an appearance” and “concealment”, can also remind us of the large showcases of the cities that become this great wrap for the sale of disposable products, mostly. The showcases are becoming more sophisticated and the stores experiences more and more exquisite and attractive.
You can spend your whole life walking, going in and out of store in store, escaping from reality. We are living in cities of appearances, in what is not and what seems to be, in the eternal simulation.
At the beginning he talked about the envelope as a guardian, let’s see then the phenomenon of security guards in the stores. They are neutralized there, camouflaged among the objects of the store, they are not perceived and although they are there, they do not seem to be there. What are they for then? The answer is obvious.
But the reality goes beyond the fact of stealing. To start all these department stores are located in areas where the resources of people allows them to buy these items of “great luxury” (great luxury, because most of the time they are not part of the basic needs). Then these characters mimicked and alienated, imposed by the market, represent a reality, they do symbolize the real, a hyper-differentiated society in classes and a society sick for consumption.
These characters that we have eliminated from our visual panorama are there to contain, so as not to let in the “ragtag”, the vagabond flâneur. Mexico City is full of these strollers, who are lost in the city and with whom we also make ourselves “blind eye”, and we have lost in our visual landscape. They, the vagabonds are also charged with reality and not with the appearance as the “wrap”.
Then, it is evident that the containers “contain”, but they are also made so as not to let “outsiders” enter. The policeman of the stores is therefore also there not to let in the foreign agent, “strange”. I think we are in the time of wrappers and containers, small places and small objects full of desire, hopes, ideals, experiences, unreal moments for people who want to escape from reality.
And of course it is not something new, but simply transformed, but I see that the human being has insisted that these experiences are increasingly more sophisticated and more real. And that philosophers like Schopenhauer analyzed it deeply and in which he simply found that negativity was what prevailed, the eternal suffering of man and the eternal desire to escape from it.
And why I bring this thoughts is because I think there are always vanishing points where there is a resistance to this dizzying tsunami of consumption, of simulation and desire. There are points where people want to return to the essence, to intelligent and conscientious consumption, to the “bulk” purchase of products that come from respectful harvests.
Quickly, the department stores have taken advantage of it and want to continue competing, entering this type of products. A phenomenon in which it does matter that the materials are recycled and that they contain the least amount of garbage, in which we do care that they last, that they are not disposable and that they finally come from a fair trade, that they do not harm the environment and do not sick our body.
I see an incessant struggle of many people who do live reality, who do live the environmental impact and the impact of design on the world. And this has nothing to do with aesthetics or if we sell in stores or markets. It has to do with the simulation that we live and in which we are easily enrolled. The wrappings will have to be removed from the objects and they will return to be objects, and not their appearance.