Thursday, July 29, 2010
Minimalism - or why we just can't get it right
Two magazines found their way on my doorstep yesterday at the same time: the weekly woman’s lifestyle mag-rag Stylist & the season catalogue of the high-end contemporary furniture store, BoConcept.
The simultaneity of their arrival made me think of the big lifestyle dilemma of our modern world: minimalism vs perennial consumerism.
Now, if you look at the BoConcept catalogue, it is all surfaces – clean, uncluttered, never-ending surfaces (and insect pictures on the wall, for some odd reason). The uber-expensive furniture and fixtures are defined by their sparseness and their determination to not take attention away from the pure beauty of empty space. Think: the frighteningly modernist house in Polanski’s latest, The Ghost Writer.
Ice-cold minimalism is the lifestyle to aspire to.
On the other hand, fashion magazines such as Stylist that we consume on a regular basis are filled with “stuff” being peddled to us. I don’t know what else to call all of this but stuff: citrus-orange watches; limited-edition velvet flowercap perfume bottles; wall-mounted wine racks; handcrafted cards; cellulite brushes; Lady Gaga designed heartbeat earphones designed “just for Dr Dre Beats”; Phillips Fidelio’s snazzy DS9000 iPod; peppermint and lemon insect-repellent candles; a book of 100 shots of Kate Moss; “little fella” late-night reading lamps; and, I kid you not, babushka-doll inspired USB sticks -- all of which Stylist believes would really enhance your life.
Would it make any material difference to anyone’s life, whether they did or did not own the babushka-doll USB stick or the Lady Gaga designed heartbeat earphones? None what so ever. Yet, we will all buy it because of the fuzzy, warm momentary joy that the act of buying gives us.
And then, we will try to fit all this colourful junk into our supposedly cool minimalist lives – and wonder, what went wrong.