A small world

A small world

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Conceived in the 1960s, Walt Disneyrsqs original plans for his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) outlined a utopian laboratory for domestic technology, where families would live, work, and play in an integrated environment. Like many of his contemporaries, Disney imagined homes that would attend to their inhabitantsrsq every need, and he regarded the home as a site of unending technological progress. This fixation on qspace-ageq technology, with its promise of domestic bliss, marked an important mid-twentieth-century shift in understandings of the American home. InA Small World, Davin Heckman considers how domestic technologies that free people to enjoy leisure time in the home have come to be understood as necessary parts of everyday life.Heckmanrsqs narrative stretches from the early-twentieth-century introduction into the home of electric appliances and industrial time-management techniques, through the postwar advent of television and the space-age qhouse of tomorrow, q to the contemporary automated, networked qsmart home.q He considers all these developments in relation to lifestyle and consumer narratives. Building on the tension between agency and control within the walls of homes designed to anticipate and fulfill desires, Heckman engages debates about lifestyle, posthumanism, and rights under the destabilizing influences of consumer technologies, and he considers the utopian and dystopian potential of new media forms. Heckman argues that the achievement of an environment completely attuned to its inhabitantsrsq specific wants and needs-what he calls the qPerfect Dayq-institutionalizes everyday life as the ultimate consumer practice.Whirlpool, Frigidaire, and Electrolux, among others, have all introduced , - versions of this product. ... And there is aquot;Whirlpoola#39;s new internet fridge from which the user can access email, scan food in and out and order the shoppingaquot; ... consumption-oriented appliance is a Sharp microwave aquot;that can download recipes from the Internet and cook food according to instructions it receives remotelyaquot; (Lammers).

Title:A small world
Author:Davin Heckman
Publisher:Duke Univ Pr - 2008-02


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