The Return Policy Project

I began The return policy project, which became my thesis for my "Masters of Fine Arts" at Columbia University in 2000. The web site is Distaurt.com. The idea was to show to what extent we control or are controlled by the objects we buy. Consumerism is a catch 22 situation: we think we are free to buy the object when in fact we are enslaved by the need (real or fake) of it. The notion of control is deeply rooted in our consumer society and it seems to stem from the need to be in control of our lives. We buy a product which fulfills a particular function, and by doing so we incorporate it into our lives in such a way that we are brought to think we can no longer live without it. Our ability to manipulate it at will contributes to the illusion of having shaped our lives according to our needs, and therefore of being in control. My intention was to alter this perception. In this way, the project consists of purchasing consumer goods –used daily by millions of people in their immediate environments– altering their function, and returning them to the marketplace. In this way, I made sure that the altered product would eventually become part of someone's environment, and slowly take control of his/her life, however subtle this control might be. The products had to be electronic in content, so that I could

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 • Size: N/A - Media: web page, pagers, microcontrollers, hi-fi, alarm clock, microwave - 2000
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