“All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.” (Debord, G., 1967)
With these words Guy Debord described the phenomenon of the spectacle, which embodied post-war society’s increasing tendency to translate expression through objects. As such the objectification of the Spectacle was a critique against this late Fordist society. A society, which had a certain tendency to generalize, whether in abstract terms of standardization, or in the pragmatic conditions of mass production, resulting in a blunt consumer culture fueled by commodity fetishism induced by the rise of mass media. Debord and his Situationist movement, as well as other post-Marxist anti-Fordist thinkers such as Henry Lefebvre stated that this process of homogenized fixation on the object, eventually led to a degradation of knowledge, a loss of perception, a lack of emotion, invoked dysfunctional social relationships and eventually led to an overall impoverished quality of life.
As society developed through the late twentieth century, post-fordism theoretically claimed to loosen and enrich the homogenous mass into a mode of customization and diversity. As a whole we exponentially explored the potential of this newfound individuality, by for example soft social networks, interactive embedded systems and mass customization. Within this process, society adopted new hybrid modes of operation and communication, in which the nature of expression method of diversification is shifting, under the influence of the homogenizing workings of globalization and information society. Moreover, information technology continuously seeks to comply perception and expression into predefined meaning structures.
Perhaps we can conclude that post-fordism, just as fordism, struggles with the pragmatic execution of its own theory. It finds itself in an emotive identity conflict between the individual and the collective, between freedom and structure, and between diversity and protocol, as the systems and networks that allow individual expression, in a paradoxical manner, also limit their manifested diversity. This notion on post-Fordism is ironically similar to the Post-Marxist critique on its predecessor that instigated it. As they resented Fordism with: “A social relationship between people that is mediated by images.” (Debord, G., 1967) Perhaps we can state to stand against: “A social relationship mediated by standardized protocols and interfaces.” As general, but pragmatic, problem statement we therefor identify:
“Information society is increasingly minimizing the expressive vocabulary of bodily communication.“
Conceptual representation of the relation of the individual and the "in between" individuals