Theatrics of the Self

Internalizing Status, Class, and Power through the Use of Objects

Ideas, emotions, and history are embodied in the objects we carry. Not only do we use objects to project to others status or class, but the use and ownership of objects play a critical role in how we perceive ourselves. In the First Gilded Age, certain objects such as a chatelaine purse, a cane, a ladle, or a parasol could be more than symbols of status or power, but came to embody how the user perceived their role in society. In today’s materialist culture, most objects are developed and defined by a specific brand. Beyond the fulfillment of basic needs, the value of an object is influenced by its quality and by the history of the brand behind it. Iconic brand names such as Apple, and Chanel, and Lululemon allow their customers to participate in a sumptuous, theatrical performance of a certain “lifestyle,” influencing behaviors, physical appearance, and perception of the self. In a complementary relationship, the objects explored in relation to this theme are not only used to express characteristics, but allow the wearer to become an embodiment of them.

Objects from this theme:

Click the thumbnails below to learn more about these objects.

  • theatricsOfTheSelf_split_espinoza
  • theatricsOfTheSelf_split_fritz
  • theatricsOfTheSelf_split_garcia
  • theatricsOfTheSelf_split_guimaraes