Sunday, February 3, 2019
IKEA Hacker says - DELAKTIG is a DUD or Capitalism bites back.
[picture shows a Studio Kosnik Ikea Hack titled - 'Fainting Couch for a Teen on a Budget'. Picture shows a tall bench based on the IKEA's Sektion box, with custom doors clad in a reflective vintage Italian laminate; the cushion is made out of IKEA's quality foam mattress from the AS-IS section - damaged packaging lowered the price on it by 50% - then properly upholstered in blue/green, slightly textured vinyl; the side panels are made of 1 1/4 clear pine with roundover edges. One could make an argument that the piece is Post Modern inspired]
Chapter 1 - The EMPEROR has NO CLOTHES [very emotional response, bare with me]
If you are a subscriber to IKEA Hackers mailing list then recently you've gotten some encouragement from Jules Yap to 'go out there and hack DELAKTIG', but not get paid for it. If you don't know what DELAKTIG is then watch my 2 of my videos where I talk about that particular undertaking by IKEA -
DELAKTIG Launches in Canada - HERE
Was Delaktig a DUD? - HERE
Now in her latest newsletter to Hackers, Jules acknowledges that there has not been any DELAKTIG hacks so far - hacks done by actual hackers. Let me re-phrase this - there has not been anyone out there who felt inspired by that product enough to spend money and bring it into their space and then get creative with it - because that is what IKEA Hacking is, simplified.
IKEA, in their attempt to influence the 'IKEA Hacking' narrative [the first step was to allow Jules run her IKEAHackers.net] - spared no expense, hiring the world's most famous furniture designer Tom Dixon. DELAKTIG was launched with much fanfare in Milan - the most famous place for furniture launches in the whole wide world. The media response was overwhelming - a furniture power couple IKEA/Dixon went on an interview tour touting nothing short of furniture revolution - Peak Furnishings they called it! You would think that they made it.
Well, we now know that laws of Kapitalism [that's Capitalism with a K, as per Karl] still hold and sales do matter. See, the way I see it, IKEA Hacking the way I defined it at my first ever IKEA Hackers convention in 2016 is diametrically different from what I call 'the Capitalist Design Model' - that's sort of been the tradition pretty much until the last 5-8 years. What has changed? First of all, I think the Design field has gotten a lot more 'populist' - as the new wave of Creatives we are decoupling from traditional models of distribution - as Designers we are now all connected so it is easier and easier to reach out to final consumers [I talked about that at my last year show - Views vs. Conversions]. Who needs the middleman to get a 50% cut of the sale? I still know artists, whom initially signed on with an agent to generate sales and now, left the country [Canada] to live in another part of the world AND they are still bound by the contract - they will never be able to shake that off. I think that can be greatly limiting.
Do you really want to sell your soul to the devil for the the holy grail of being picked up by a large label, or being connected to ultra wealthy individuals? As a side note, may I mention that there are growing calls for the ultra-wealthy to drop the philanthropy pretense and simply start paying proper tax-rate. How'bout that for a change, huh?
I am still very bitter about this project - yes, I use the word 'bitter'. I strongly felt that this DELAKTIG stunt was directed at the IKEA Hacking community. It was an attempt to subvert the true nature of the movement, to steer the control via media clicks right back to IKEA. And I hold the media responsible, lapping it up like a thirsty dog in heat. But those who live by the sword, die by the sword - capitalism rules supreme - sales and hacks are dismal, I've not encountered anything about DELAKTIG of value on the Internet. DELAKTIG as a concept is a DUD!
I am just going to write about everything that I think is wrong with DELAKTIG - it foremost is annoying. AND I blame JULES for spreading the propaganda.
A] For a project with an unlimited budget it is a complete and utter DUD - 'cause IKEA sits on BILLIONS' and they keep throwing money at this thing! - their corporate structure is a twisted, mangled web that spans the European Union; it's legal, but how ethical? - that is why I do not feel bad for them at all, maybe if it was some small independent visionary studio, that bled dry creating this utopia, OK. BUT this is a classic case of 'boss knows best' - I understand that a company needs a steady hand on the till - BUT - when I manage a project I always listen to the people that work with me. Being a good boss is being able to bend your own knee so that a 'lesser may reach out farther' [there is no loss of dignity, I assure you, the project just gets better; I use the term 'lesser' for reductionist simplicity - I believe that we are equals, and the most precious finite commodity that we have is our time] and encourage the best person for the job - being a good boss means letting other people achieve greatest success - that is what is best for the company.
I guess Jules has short memory of when the Corporate was suing her.
Or that time when IKEA forced an exhibitor out of Canada's biggest Design Show because they felt insecure about their product - yea! for real!
When it comes to IKEA Hacking, I am the best person for the job. Period. I self studied psychology - amongst other things - several years back. I knew that I was not going to become a psychologist, but I wanted to understand what motivates people to do certain things. How is it that a skilled [ethical?] marketer is able to convince an individual to pay more for a product that they really need to pay? Now, if we lived in a UBI society - this would not be a problem, as people would only pursue productive, net-contributing activities and so being 'duped' like that would not have consequences for them. But today's reality is that most people don't like their jobs, they are often underpaid and suffer from poor quality of life. That is precisely why they shop at IKEA - I hope you can make that connection [ I will make a video right after I publish this piece] - IKEA Hacking taps into a certain need within the human psyche - it is not just a 'design exercise'!
B] 'Let's throw Tom Dixon at this' - I wonder who made that decision. I believe in the principles of good design - so when I chose projects, I select those which will further my objective the most. Greatest results are inevitably achieved when the personal values of the executor align perfectly with the objective. This was not the case.
Why plunge your best efforts for mediocre results - because an ethical, and forward thinking organization will not just focus on the profits but also look at side outcomes. You know, personally I believe that is not just about money - I do tons of volunteer work in my community and get paid nothing for it [Yea! I've raised hundreds of children!] Honestly, my volunteering is like having a part time job - that is the advantage of country like Canada - essentially the state affords you to be the best citizen that you can be, and I encourage everyone around me to participate - CANADIAN DESIGN is different because it is a product of unique cultural environment - it's almost a little socialist and we lack the superiority complex - I'm sorry.
I think creating an 'officially sanctioned IKEA Hack' should not have been just an academic design exercise - Students! STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR IVORY TOWERS - it is not beneficial to your career well-being. I understand that today we 'design everything' - but this was a furniture design exercise that had deep and long, let's call them, societal roots - I defined IKEA Hacking as 'Accessibility, Affordability, Community' - now expand on those 3 terms and you will immediately realize why your project was not successful. We are living in a post-Design world - there is no high-priests of Design any more - the granularity of DESIGN has gotten tiny. I say it like this - first it was the Supermodels that went away [remember 90's? I do, old man here] and today it is the Super-Designer. It may be a a very humbling experience for some - the upside is that they will never exist again*.
C] DELAKTIG, visually - SUCKS. OMG! We are setting everything else aside and we are looking just at the visual. DO this exercise - sneak a picture of DELAKTIG in an INSTAGRAM feed of one of millions of 'design feeds' - 100 images is enough. Does it stand out? Does it pop for you?
If it doesn't - for you, who are trained and have an above average appreciation for things furniture - then how in the world is going to capture the imagination of another one!? Huh?! I know what happened - you designed for yourselves - it is common fallacy. No! Not a fallacy, most of us work this way - BUT! - you must strip yourselves of any 'pretense' - you have to become 'the common man' - you have to leave the glamour and glitter of DESIGN behind. I know that it is completely counter-intuitive - the DESIGN WORLD is a one big 'Dog and Pony Show' - but to be successful you got to play both sides. I will do New York furniture show, probably next year, and I will do Milan, probably in about 5 years - on my own terms. Hope to see you there!
D] Jules.... Jules.... Jules.... When I got that e-mail from you, encouraging me to 'go out there and do something with DELAKTIG' - in my eyes - you lost your independence. You might as well go on IKEA's payroll. I remember when IKEA was suing you! - my TV Show got cancelled!! You compromised your ethics. 'DELAKTIG a winning concept' - according to whom? - you personally, or IKEA's marketing department? Imagine that it has been - what - two years now....? Nobody has submitted any DELAKTIG hacks? Not even a small time designer 'chose to collaborate with 'IKEA x Dixon' as an academic exercise?
Yea, it would totally make sense for the CORPORATE, if some1 out there would go out, pay a bazillion dollars for visually underwhelming and uninspiring piece of furniture, that doesn't really fit the 'IKEA Heirloom narrative regardless of the 50% recycled aluminum content [and I use the term Heirloom loosely]' and then hack it - but why? Just so some well paid big wig at IKEA HQ can pat themselves on the shoulder and say - 'Yes, we were successful'. That's not what IKEA Hacking is at all! It is annoying to hear your influential voice add to this! It might be the case that you are not really an IKEA Hacker, but more a shill.... Yes, there are other ways of getting rewarded other than hard cold cash.
* if you are bored, than feel free to be entertained and read up on my fictional story about the Greatest Design Conspiracy in the World - so the Design World is run by an evil duo - a greedy conservative American [in the closet] billionaire and a very flamboyant European homosexual designer who lives in a gilded modernist cube called S.U.N - together they conspire to keep the riches to themselves and keep the independent designers down and controlled via an evil, global-spanning corporation [modeled after *KEA] They control the means of design, they control the means of productions, they control the media....
A disillusioned product designer whom, by accident, teams up with a young, eager investigative journalist who wants to break her first BIG story. Together they sneak themselves into this one wild design party and discover the TRUTH.... **** see it here at f35.ca, you may have to do some scrolling ****