Gee Thompson’s book focuses on the spells that bind us into the society of today. These ranges from Health and Hunger Spells to Feel Good Spells, all manner of topics and ideologies are covered. Due to the fact I am aiming to discover a topic born from the layers of social status and identity. I thought it necessary to look up what these phenomenons encompass in the 21st century western world.
I started by looking at Luxury Fever which is one of the Status Spells. The concept of luxury has taken over the world, people are always searching to get the most opulent items and experiences. All over the world these ideologies have become identical, each shopping mall having no distinguishable features wherever you go in the world. Items such as Dior Dresses and bespoke Range Rovers have become baseline luxury. The cost of individuality is continually growing and therefore shifting up. Divisions are being made between people who can take on and afford this kind of luxury in their lives and those who can not creating bigger segregations between the rich and “poor”. They encompass a money can buy everything attitude but fear being boring and miserable.
Next I looked at Happiness Index in the Feel Good Spells. I have decided to look at this Meme due to the fact my work looks a lot as the idealistic happiness and how in an interior setting can that be obtainable. The allusive happiness equations involved many factors, optimum state of health, wealth, comfort and friends. This exists as a statistic called the Gross National Happiness, this provides an idea of how happy people are in one country. This was taken on by the United Nations as the World Happiness Report. Happiness can be taught and brought bringing us back to the idea of Luxury Fever as seen previously. One of the iconic factors of this is the Perfect Home (every material, designer comfort, kitchen appliance and time saving gadget).
I followed this by looking at Comfort in the Lifestyle Spells. Since the Second World War there has been a rise in the quality of living. This is shown by the materials used within the home, furniture, consummation and what we consume. The comforts of the home are a haven away from everyday life, a protection from the world outside. This is called Cocoon Living. Social scientist, Werner Sombart stated that the social decadence and bourgeois obsession was cover from tragedy in life which was being shied away from. We start to have dependence of materiality. This further enforces the perception of “Westernised Culture” being gutless and insensitive to the “poor” and devouring luxury. The idea of comfort promises cleanliness and convenience.
Finally I discovered Modern Living, again part of the Lifestyle Spells. Modern style has slowly evolved over the years with key concepts and players such as Le Corbustier and Walter Gropius primarily in Modernism. The look of this style encompasses expensive and cosmopolitan Italian style. The production is also clear in retail with brands such as Ikea and Habitat. The modern look promotes who we are through our possessions. It identifies how forward thinking we are and how stylish. How our houses look have comfort and visual appeal, modern architecture and interiors. It promises a happiness in ordered perfection, a place surrounded by beautiful people.