Christmas is the best time for me when it comes to shop displays. I would run on down to Oxford street in London and gaze at the contemporary yet traditional displays in Selfridges, John Lewis and any other shop along that mile stretch. It was a work of art. Every item of clothing, every snowflake was planned meticulously for months and then unveiled in time for the Christmas period.
In fact I wasn’t aware just how much planning went into it until I watched this video on the Selfridges website. amazing.
One of my favourite books is by art critic John Berger called Ways of seeing. In it he argues that what we see is influenced by ideologies. An oil painting of a confident man surrounded by wealth can be seen as enviable, and this is what modern day advertisements try to do.
“The Spectator-buyer is meant to envy herself as she will become if she buys the products. She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others…”
I would highly recommend reading this book and also watching the four part series over on youtube.
In Cairo it seem that they skip the planning and go straight into dressing the window display then and there. If I walked past these displays it wouldn’t make me want to get my wallet out and spend spend spend, or be the envy of others. What do you think?
So tomorrow is the first day of ramadan, and where most people moan at the slow pace and lack of work done during this time, I’m really excited. Supermarkets are decorated with colourful material and shelves stacked up with dates, nuts, dried fruit, hibiscus juice and all manner of festive products. It’s a time for people to gain that spiritually that seems to be lacking in their lives, and of course to be extra generous in giving to the poor.
I also just found out that Egypt’s Intelligence Chief (and VP for a few days during the revolution) Omair Suleiman has suddenly died while receiving treatment in the US. I can’t see many people shedding a tear for him over here in Egypt. Instead they’re probably wondering why Mubarak is still alive!
Here’s some interesting articles about the man and the claims of his involvement in torture:
The Olympics are upon us in a few days in London, and with all the bad press of missiles being placed on East London rooftops, the spiralling cost of the Olympics and the farce that is the Orbit Tower (even though its received some good reviews, in my eyes paying £15 to go up a scrap metal helter skelter is ridiculous) it’ll be interesting to see how the games actually do.
For some inspirational Guerilla art check out this this group who tackle street advertising and call themselves Brandalism