In Revenge of the Crystal, (1) Jean Baudrillard sets out to explain our relationship to different types of objects. He explains these relationships through the psychoanalytic theories around fetish, castration and substitution, a replacement for and a longing to return to a point of origin. The bygone object and the attendant sentimentality attached to it, are symptomatic of that longing, while the gadget (an ipod shuffle for example or an automatic can opener) are connected to us through use. Baudrillard describes the state of play within capitalism where all commodities fall within the categories of luxury, degradation and conspicuous consumption. Continuity is assured to the collector through ownership.
As capitalism has evolved, more and more new forms of commodity live for a moment and then are discarded without delay. The pure commodity form is one that obeys the law of planned obsolescence, over and over again, almost instantaneously, worn out by the time you have unwrapped the package. The pure commodity comes without the slightest vestige of functionality. It obeys only the laws of commodity: new-instantly-old. Movie merchandise is the prime example of the pure commodity form. It just exists, without use, and without history, and then you forget about it. It sits in a drawer, taking up space, a coloniser of overlooked spaces.
If the pure commodity form is without history then it does not assure the collector a connection to the past. What is our relationship to them?
Is the pure commodity form (without function and origins) a remembered construction or cultural fantasy?
This is a fantasy that only ever existed in the Disney version of childhood and in the la la land of Hollywood. Disney merchandise is the prime example of the way commodities' authenticity and...