"The chosen Ones"
, Oct 18 –
Nov 20, 2012
2012 is a great year for the hoodie. In May, Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook on the financial market, and when visiting Wall Street the entrepreneur millionaire ‘under 30’ wears none other than his iconic hoodie—in this case it is the color of mourning. In the economically appropriate press there is fuss aplenty, and an uncommon detail to matters of clothing—usually the sole vocabulary refers to the workers’ collars (blue or white) qualifying for workers in the heavy industry and those in the service economy. Apparently, Wall Street felt violated by the garment. One things is Sillicon Valley, another Wall Street—but differences between formal and informal labor tend to fade once in the financial market.
Two months before, also in the USA, young Trayvon Martin is killed. The killer’s justification: a confusion between color and clothing. Millions take to the streets in protest and solidarity—”the million hoodie march”. In the UK the solidarity is more feeble, and David Cameron no longer even refers to the garment; the PM’s opinion is known: “Youth, avoid the hoodie.” But while of the London riots in the summer of 2011, who actually saw the face of marginalia while it, from the fires in Hackney and down in South London, took hold of the shops and asked for more? And who will deny that the hoodie is just as much the favorite clothing of the middle class—a class said without morals besides commodities and well being?
In culture, there are particular shapes, and pieces of clothing, which end up taking figurative roles: of labor, and of class. Banal to the point of boredom, as one such object the hoodie manages to coexist informality and violence, the efficacy of a quotidian without qualities (the middle class) and those on the margins and apparently exterior to the economic process. What comes out of Zuckerberg’s gesture though is more complex and contemporary: Wall Street is ours, or better yet, it is us.
Out of the impoverishment of the people and out of the most radical fracturing of society comes not only unemployment, but also, in it, new market tendencies and novel labor codes. The european unemployment rates rose all throughout the first semester of 2012—youth unemployment is up to 22.5%. Surprisingly, at the end of this time-frame, the difference between sexes amounts to a mere 0.1%. In its newest campaign, Benetton is looking for the unemployee of the year... Let’s not be cynical, if the brand is so inclined there is a niche to explore, and along the ‘long tail’, as Wired’s editor Chris Anderson would say, a truth economically affordable to it.
In NYC, there are cases of success, and stimulating examples of a generalized corporatization of life and free time. That is the case of the emerging start-up Quirky. A company without product (though what it does produce are consumer goods) run at each minute (it is best not to think about the future) on harnessing ideas proposed by amateurs (designers or otherwise), discussed and share with the direction of the company by way of social networking and made affordable via novel technologies of reproduction and downgrading (3D printing). In the end, profit is shared throughout the community of supporters. At Quirky, as in other companies, though, there is much confusion between a liberating and a liberal discourse. On show, see the copy of a door from the company’s offices in NYC: “The Chosen Ones”.