Monday, March 11, 2013

INDN 211: Corporate Culture

Our first project for INDN 211: Object Based Experiments is to create a cultural gift. In my mind, to be able to effectively decide on a cultural gift, I first need to nail down the culture that I want to target. Having begun first with a look at the culture of mysteries and secrets, it seems an odd change of heart to go to corporate culture, which can be so prejudiced and elitist.

However, the idea that I was trying to capture in my afore-mentioned mysteries culture was the idea of transmutation, which is the process of change and/or growth. Gifts in corporate culture are about suggesting the development of a relationship, be it business-related or diplomatic. The idea of a relationship changing and evolving is of paramount importance in a corporate relationship.

The nature of the gift can be as important as the gift itself, as the intentions behind the gift can vary immensely. The gift can be given with the intention of intimidating a business opponent, or potentially sealing the closing of a business deal, or it can be a gift from home for a diplomatic visit.

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The gifts are usually extremely high-class and have a significant amount of meaning behind them. The materials used are made to look expensive, while not always actually being expensive. Use of clean lines, coupled with starkly contrasting materials create a good corporate gift. In the gift above, we see clean cut glass made to remind us of a faceted jewel, while actually being resolved in a far cheaper material.

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Another element consistently seen in corporate gifts is an austere sense of elitism and class division. Cuff links would see little use for someone who doesn't wear a specific sort of shirt, and yet they make excellent gifts. The high quality of the materials again reinforces the class division, while also creating an element of deception. The material could be relatively inexpensive, yet we wouldn't know as all we see is the shine and colour contrast. This almost conjures up the historical notion of native inhabitants being given worthless yet shiny pieces of glass as jewellery, and could in many respects harbour similar sentiments.

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Another recurring theme of the corporate gift culture is that the gift is trying to be an elaborate version of something simple. This pen and notepaper holder for example, is trying to do the same job as an ordinary pen and paper, but is trying to do it in a much more attractive package. The high-class polished exterior speaks of precious metals and money, but is really just there to look pretty rather than be functional.

So there we have it. For my gift, I want to take an object that already works well, and then re-design it to be not very functional, but look very pretty. The object should find inspiration from the area it's trying to find its way into, while also representing the idea of transmutation and evolution.

To work!

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