Mise en Mall

How to stop worrying and learn to love the megamall


Victoria's Secret, N178

"If erotic potential is channeled into safe, heterosexist fun, the Mall, like the arcades, contains potential for the eruption of surplus libidinal energy."


Youth, Knott's Camp Snoopy

"A persistent cliché in the critique of consumerism is the intellectual immaturity of the masses, whether in childish surrender or childlike insubordination to the exhortations of the consciousness industries....The child, of course, is not yet modern, still inhabiting the time of myth, and with primitiveness, is the ideal "subject supposed to believe," the other whose capacity for enchantment opens up a space for the rational adult, through the mechanism of transference, to experience faith in the animation of the world."


Security guard, Level 1

"The technical and semiotic perfection of illusion makes The Mall vulnerable to contamination and destabilization by "real" traces of the Real..."


LEGO Imagination Center, S164

"Popular culture is obsessed with the dinosaur, and rightly so....Part of the fascination is undoubtedly the function of their fate as a hopeful allegory for human politics suggesting the inevitable decline of large-scale maladapted institutions. More important, however, they allegorize the fate of the commodity, for the dinosaur both naturalizes the obsolescence of form built into the social product and yet maintains a dream of resurrection through faith in mythical nature, the rationality of science, and the aesthetics of commodity."


Timbuktu Station, S178

"The existence of the gap is repressed entirely in the "imperialist nostalgia" of retail themes, such as Banana Republic and Timbuktu Station, which seem to deny entirely the presence of the other except as a cipher for a narcissistic desire. Exhibiting a culture of amnesia, they reduce colonialism to a fashion shown on tropical location...hunting big game and long lost power-objects from pre-Christian times. They also cleverly double alterity in the form of the past exotic, evoking a time of authentic travel that contrasts with contemporary tourism, such that the clothes and accessories sold are souvenirs of an authentic mode of the souvenir."


Zhivago Rugs, S210

"The use of foreign languages in retail themes, from Bellas Cosa to Zhivago Rugs, and including the tongue-in-cheek Maison du Popcorn, give pleasure of distinction to those who can pronounce them and know their meaning, while further satisfying an 'oral fixation' with alterity."

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