Sunday, December 21, 2008
Isn't this image instantly disheartening?
I do like the man in the upper right though, who appears to be saying, "Screwdriver" as a pictograph. The pictures on the right, which tell you how to perform the first two steps, are actually confusing at first and then begin to make sense as you understand that the circular forms represent close-ups, and the rectangular boxes give you extra information either about what piece you need or what you shouldn't do.
Would this be easier in words? Or a combination of words and pictures? The assembled result is a dining chair. I bought a coffee pot from IKEA, too, which came with a tiny brochure in 18 languages, including Hungarian. There is something dazzling about it, the notion that this same coffee pot might be unwrapped this evening in the Czech Republic, in Finland or in Portugal or China. I know that global capitalism can streamline the individuality out of practically anything, but nonetheless there's something pleasantly populist about my coffee pot and these drawings intended to be read globally. (That's a nice thing when you're shopping there, too, how wildly diverse the place is, as if every sort of citizen were on hand, all cheerfully intermingling.)
On the way home from IKEA we stopped at the grocery store, and our dinner purchase included a bag of frozen organic vegetables called Eat Your Greens -- pretty attractive, as it had asparagus, edamame, spinach, green beans... I didn't read the rest of the package till I opened it up over the stove, only to discover that it was a product of China. How much carbon, to get these frozen greens (which truly were pretty good) all the way to the eastern end of Long Island? Ugh. The world has been moving through our dining room tonight, for better and for worse.