Objectified

Objectified

DVD - 2009
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A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. In his second film, director Gary Hustwit (Helvetica) documents the creative processes of some of the world's most influential product designers, and looks at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets.
Publisher: [London] : Swiss Dots Limited ; Brooklyn, NY : Distributed by]Plexifilm, c2009
Branch Call Number: 745.2 O12
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (75 mins.) : sd. col. ; 4 3/4 in

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m
mikemarotta
Dec 31, 2017

Objectified is a film by Gary Hustwit about design, designers, and the objects that they create. Dieter Rams of Braun and Apple’s Jonathan Ive appear, of course. So do thirty other designers, and a couple of supportive critics, such as Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art.

IKEA and Target both get cameo roles as they deliver to us the magic of inexpensive mass produced items that ennoble us, their owners, with the spiritual benefits of good design. You and I also appear in anonymous walk-ons because in the words of Andrew Blauvelt, “anything that is touched by man, is transformed by man, is by its very nature designed.” The human-built environment is design.

Rob Walker of the New York Times Magazine asks rhetoically, when the hurricane is coming and you have twenty minutes to pack, what do you grab? Not the object that got a great review in some design magazine, but the object that means the most to you.

According to Andrew Blauvelt, the design concept has three layers. First form begets form, the formal logic of form. Then come symbols and symbolism, the cultural symbols. From that comes the contextual symbolism of making coffee, for instance, the bigger scenario of the human-object relationship. The little rituals define the fork and knife. The vacuum cleaners from Dirt Devil and Dyson extended the horizons for a single-use product into designer goods for display. Ultimately, the Roomba programmable robot vacuum allowed an undreamed of level of hacking as user interaction.

Speaking of his work on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, Jonathan Ive says that the curse of being a designer is always looking at everything and wondering “why does it have to be that way and not some other way?”

c
chanelsurfer
Aug 20, 2013

This film does not adequately address economics. It is also tainted by hindsight and does not give due appreciation to black box designing (design in the abstract without recourse to hindsight).

d
dprodrig
Aug 13, 2012

It's something that rarely crosses our mind - that everything we use was designed by someone, someone with an invested interest in either making something better, filling a gap or adding unique features to items that are in every day use. The sad thing is that all the time and effort that goes into making these still doesn't change the fact that most of it ends up in the garbage - and there is a bit of a discussion of art vs. practicality, unique vs. longevity.

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katd74
May 13, 2010

katd74 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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