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Archive for June, 2010

Admittedly, this picture was easy for me. Just another excuse to use polka-dot-patterned adhesive tape, really. The ad shows how countercultural elements are appropriated by companies in order to sell products. And the problem is that I really like it – these things never fail to work for me. I remember many of Camel’s ads from years past – so influential were they – even though I never became a regular smoker. Spray cans represent customers’ power to participate in the brand’s image by designing packaging, thus supposedly making it more DIY and empowering. There is something fishy about the idea of selling freedom in the form of addiction that still does not hinder it from being¬†appealing. I believe the illusion is achieved here by a call for liberatory creativity which, unfortunately, happens to serve the purpose of glorifying a brand that solely has its own interests in mind. And yet, as health is increasingly invested with ideology, I wonder whether smoking cigarettes isn’t becoming an act of resistance again.

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I’m not sure whether Geneva’s calvinist seriousness and reverence for the demands of business are starting to get on my nerves or if it’s only about these amazing adhesive tapes with lots of different patterns I found in a hip little shop in Berne, but lately I have been listening to female punk bands from the 80s and 90s, learning everything there is to know about zine culture, and feeling like the teenager I never truly was. I’m probably recovering from the shock of finally being registered as a PhD student – having to study as a doctoral student whenever I can and teach French to diplomats the rest of the time is too much pressure. When the day is over, I re-imagine myself as some sort of creative activist whose life is all about counterculture. Tinged as they are with schizophrenia, these slightly traumatic transitions from one state to the other (meet Anne: scholar and anarchist)¬†are seldom convincing.

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