It's up to cultural creatives to breath life into them. Through a cunning process of meaning manufacture, designers and marketers make the inanimate animate. They make objects come to life.
This process raises lots of questions for the anthropologist. Here are one or two:
Are there any meanings in our culture that cannot be invested in goods? How big is the envelope of useable meanings? Is any meaning off limits? Is anything impossible because implausible? Are there, to use Austin's language, felicity conditions that must be satisfied?
Nike ACG Blazers offers us an interesting test. They are designed by Cassette Playa and launched during the “Future Primitive” runway show. The theme of the show was “urban shamanism.”
Cassette Playa’s creative director Carri Munden (pictured here with the ACG) offered this exegesis of the meanings of her design:
“Ancient Amazonian hunting rituals adapted by a gang of skaters in a post apocalyptic city”.
See the entire Carri Munden Interview here.
Austin, J L. 1965. How to Do Things With Words. New York: Oxford University Press.
Florida, Richard. 2002. The Rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic Books.