On the repackaging of technological objects (or not)

new laptop case - zips

This is my new laptop case. The design features the “TG12345 Mk II recording desk” from London’s famous Abbey Road studios. You can read a bit about that mixing desk, and buy your own laptop case (or notebook, t-shirt…) here.

It was a birthday present from my mother. It reminds us both of my father, a professional musician who spent a lot of his life working at those studios. Most people hear “Abbey Road” and think Beatles; I think “Ah, Dad’s got sessions this week, he’ll be wandering around the house distracted, loosing his glasses, making endless cups of tea, muttering about percussionists and swearing at his piano at 2am…”. My brother did loads of work experience there as a teenager and, or at least so he says, met Paul McCartney. Apparently I spent a fair bit of time there as a baby too, quietly sleeping in the corner of the studio (I must have been an unusually quiet baby).

Personal connections aside, I think this laptop case is interesting object. It’s a desirable consumer product, at least for those of a certain aesthetic. I’m very much looking forward to showing it off at the British Library. I think it’s fascinating that what is, in many ways, a technical object designed for utilitarian purpose has been repackaged purely for its image. I think this is interesting. Also, it’s a relatively “retro” piece of technology. These desks were used between 1975 and 1985, somewhat before the emergence of the laptop case as a consumer product. So it signals technology and geekiness, whilst at the same time reflecting a form of nostalgia. Technostalgia perhaps.

I’ve blogged elsewhere about some of these issues before, inspired by some children’s t-shirts which recycled old cover art from Popular Mechanics. Now, I could bang on about the everyday anachronism of postmodern technological media consumption. Clothing remade from cassette tapes, or our delight in old internet sites, for example. I could also return to the personal connection and use it to make a point about the personal relationships we all have to technological objects. I don’t name my laptop, phone, ipod, bicycle, etc, but I know a fair number of people who do. Or, there’s that odd disconnection between the public cultural associations of Abbey road compared to my more individual domestic one: ripe for a bit of structuration theory. Or perhaps, in honor of Susan Leigh Star who died recently, I might reflect on the ways in which single objects may have multiple meanings for multiple peoples; this multiplicitous nature allowing them to be sites for both the making and unmaking of boundaries. Cultural theorists of technology do love an artefactual case study. And er, emphasising plurality and words like multiplicitous.

But I won’t drone on about all that. It’s my birthday and although I’ve worked a chunk of it already, right now I’m going to zip-up all my sociological citations firmly inside this laptop case and potter down to the pub for lunch (a pub with its own history of technology associations, but a pub nonetheless).

new laptop case - sliders

3 thoughts on “On the repackaging of technological objects (or not)

  1. weaselspoon

    Your laptop case indeed makes me nostalgic. I did work experience in a recording studio and now long for analogue tape and desks so big you had to stand up to reach the gain knob. All the features and many more are now replicated in the middling PC I've got with the addition of a good sound interface (I love my Tascam US-1641), but it never quite feels real.Also, Happy Birthday! I'll bake a cake when I'm coming round for dinner.Robert

    Reply
  2. Oliver

    Hi!
    I have found a “Mobile Case Design for WooCommerce” plugin is used to Design

    or Personalized Your Own Case & Covers for any Mobile or Cell Phone, iPhone,

    iPad, Tablet, Laptop, Notebook or other Devices. By this plugin customer can

    design the mobile case as per their need such as add Clip-Art, Logo or any

    Text.

    Customers are able to design their own mobile cases or any devices and this

    is easy way to design from online. Just take a product and add Background,

    Text or upload logo/image/clip-art/monogram to any position of mobile or can

    select existing logo from the sample items.

    For this Plugin just visit : http://wordpress-expert.codeinterest.com/woo-

    commerce/personalize-mobile-case-design-for-woocommerce

    Reply
  3. Oliver

    Hello!
    I have found WP WooCommerce plugin which is used to Design or Personalized

    any products such as T-Shirts, Hoodies, Jackets, Polo Shirts, Long Sleeve

    Shirts, Tops, Pants, Shorts, Sportswear, Apron, Bottles, Mugs, Bags &

    backpacks, Caps, Phone & Tablet Cases, Laptop & Notebook Sleeves iPhone,

    iPad, or other Devices, Apparel, Sandal, Shoe, Dog T-Shirts, Buttons etc.
    For this plugin just visit : http://wordpress-expert.codeinterest.com/woo-

    commerce/woocommerce-fabulous-custom-product-designer

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s