In a group project with My Nguyen titled We Are Consumers, we were asked to create an “experience” using a quote. We chose a quote by Vicki Robin: “Americans used to be ‘citizens.’ Now we are ‘consumers.’”
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We thought this quote said something really interesting about America. The United States has come to a point where its inhabitants are defined by what they own. Being a citizen isn’t enough anymore. Being an American is no longer just working hard; now, that hard work is coupled with the purchase of goods and services. It’s not about how much money you might have; it’s what you buy with that money. Not only do most Americans strive for the luxury car, the nice house and everything that goes with it, they also develop relationships with those objects. America used to be the land of the frontiersman. In contrast, now our things tether us to one place and tell more about a person than you’d ever wish to know.
We set out to make something that would demonstrate this. We asked people to make the letters that make up the quote with the things they had on them. We wanted to show how the identity of a person is portrayed through what they own. In the end, we think the project accomplishes this. It shows the diversity of people, without having to actually see them.
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