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Alternative Worlds

Blue-Sky Thinking since 1900


Edited By Ricarda Vidal and Ingo Cornils

In an attempt to counteract the doom and gloom of the economic crisis and the politicians’ overused dictum that ‘there is no alternative’, this interdisciplinary collection presents a number of alternative worlds that were conceived over the course of the last century. While change at the macro level was the focus of most of the ideological struggles of the twentieth century, the real impetus for change came from the blue-sky thinking of scientists, engineers, architects, sociologists, planners and writers, all of whom imagined alternatives to the status quo.
Following a roughly chronological order from the turn of the nineteenth century to the present, this book explores the dreams, plans and hopes as well as the nightmares and fears that are an integral part of alternative thinking in the Western hemisphere. The alternative worlds at the centre of the individual essays can each be seen as crucial to the history of the past one hundred years. While these alternative worlds reflect their particular cultural context, they also inform historical developments in a wider sense and continue to resonate in the present.
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7 Designed Surfaces and the Utopics of Rejuvenation


Blast to the Past, Take Off Time, Youth Juice, Flashback, Derm Warfare, Youth Explosion, Killer Filler. These titles read like science fiction stories or thriller films, but they are in fact names of serums, creams and cleansers from Lulu Frieda’s Time Bomb anti-ageing product line. Packed into cannonball-shaped containers, the singer and entertainer invites us to join her in the so-called war against ageing by enlisting an artillery of products designed to eliminate wrinkles, plump faces, and generally renew the aura of youth. Her alleged objective is to ensure her customers look as young as they feel.1

The Time Bomb line is not unique in its nature; rather, it competes within a growing, lucrative cosmetic industry that capitalises on a socialised desire to look young. Because Lulu Frieda’s products are marketed in a tone so close to this notion of the battle against ageing – a metaphor indicating a pseudo-militarised deployment of lotions and potions to launch an offensive against temporal consequences on natural biology – it seemed a good example to raise. It is, however, symptomatic of a crowded market of largely similar products differentiated by marketing strategies. This artillery is the point of interest, and specifically how it is that Time Bomb and products of a similar nature suggest a combative stance that is self-actualising, rewarding and achievable by participating in a specific range of products and processes and by engaging with a distinct marketing language and myriad of social expectations. ← 167 | 168 →

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