Nowadays we consumers are pretty savvy about how we’re manipulated by the advertising and marketing industries, but does this make us better-placed to resist or merely more complicit in our exploitation? It’s this idea that Swedish designer Lina Forsgren explored in her graduation project at Beckmans College through an installation, film and publication that questioned our own role in the commercial process.
“We are part of a system that is not for us, but that we ourselves maintain,” she wrote. “Our society is built on the search for the dream through products and services. Relationships between people are mediated through things and this is so much the norm that it has become invisible.”
I am particularly interested in her magazine, which brings together the 50 words research shows are the most effective when it comes to selling goods or services (from compelling to personalised, instant to guaranteed) and pairs them up with some of Lina’s intriguing images (including a spinning happy/sad coin and “a brush that only ravels”).
In the wrong hands this could have been a really heavy-handed project – Provocative with a capital P and a weary sense of its own self-importance – but in Lina’s talented hands it feels fun, fresh and thought-provoking without being judgmental.