Bonfire on the Brands
September 1, 2006
“For every new status symbol I acquire, for every new extension to my identity that I buy, I lose a piece of myself to the brands.” Says Neil Boorman, the 31 year old who will burn all his branded goods on the 17 September 2006.
Complete with a BBC interview, Neil is blogging the project with Blogger here and the book will be published by Canongate. (I thinks it’s worth putting the brands in italics)
The target of the project doesn’t seem to be brands, but the identity that he thinks the manufacturers promised through the labeled goods. Schmuck.
Identity, is not a birth right, it’s something that is developed through your environment. You are born with human instincts and you’ll try and seek out what matters to you. Thinking that destroying your possessions will free you of being influenced by your environment is frankly naive, but also, ignoring the fact that brands seek to innovate at the core, thus producing tools, such as communications, is playground thinking, as he says:-
“Once I had nagged my parents to the point of buying me the shoes I was duly accepted at school, and I became much happier as a result. As long as my parents continued to buy me the brands, life was more fun. Now, at the age of 31, I still behave according to playground law. ” #
Michael Landy produced an artwork called Breakdown (right) in 2001 around the notion of western mentality of possessions, whilst the No Logo ‘manual’ by Naomi Klein tried to tackle the prospects of the global economy fueled with brands.
What is called for is a way to integrate the economic power of brands, their desire to voice values and the cultures that people actually want. This occurs through dialogue (branded or otherwise), not by burning your
bra trainers. If the media want to run with the story (and I expect they will with the kids going back to school soon) – then perhaps the hope is that brands get the opportunity to rework their model of audience participation with consumer partnership rather than consumer attention.