If you think I have been quiet since Christmas (or even before) it is because writing a thesis does not leave me much to say. All my energy is thrown into those pages, into those words, but today I had a lovely surprise when other words I had written a while ago, turned up, nicely printed and packaged, on my doorstep. I urge you to read the book, as it is excellent all round. It has contributions from some very interesting people such as Martin Dixon, Amy Parker and Guy Julier, who is an authority on Juicy Salif, and was very graceful, elegant and helpful when I presented my paper.
As for my chapter, I think the best way to approach talking about it, since I cannot critique it (at least not today) is to give you the abstract:
Designed by Philippe Starck, Juicy Salif is a kitchen utensil supposed to squeeze citrus fruits and, in particular, lemons. It does not, however, perform its function with the effectiveness of its cheaper rivals. Citric acid may corrode the aluminium or gold from which it is made; its dimensions are unfit to be comfortably stored in a standard kitchen cupboard; its ergonomic characteristics, which should make its use a pleasant experience, leave a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, it is a best selling product and a design icon.
So, if it does not squeeze lemons, what is Juicy Salif for? What is its purpose? What value do viewers, owners and users get out of it? This study will take on a psychoanalytic point of view and will look at how Juicy Salif may, in shop displays and gallery spaces, stand in the place of the object cause of desire, or what Lacan called Object (a). Presenting Juicy Salif as a case study and drawing on examples of other products that have shaped our understanding of objects and lifestyle (Jonathan Ive’s ubiquitous iPod, Manolo Blahnik’s desired shoes) this chapter will argue that what makes Juicy Salif culturally valuable is its ability to seduce, to lead consumers and viewers astray from what may be considered right behaviour.
Here is the first page of my chapter:
And, of course, as you can see from the abstract, I managed to fit some Jacques Lacan in a text about lemon squeezers, value and design. Why not?