Thursday, May 22, 2008

Culture is an adaptive organism.

We're fascinated at OFD by the organic nature of popular culture and the ability for ideas to be taken, re-appropriated and turned into something new and different from the original intension.

Take the Live strong bracelet.

It started as an idea to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and quickly became a badge for people who wanted to show their allegiance with the Live Strong philosophy of life. It became a cultural touchstone and was imitated by a variety of charities to promote their own causes.

In perhaps the most bizarre adaptation, it was appropriated in China into candy (confectionery) as a medium for delivering messages.

Now take the twisted ribbon.

It started out life being an emblem for Hope For The Cure in support of cancer. Now, the shape has become a loose canvas on which a whole variety of themes and beliefs are sketched.

Gotta love cultural appropriation, an endless shifting sand. There's hope in the tendency, and maybe a little opportunistic money to be made too.

1 comment:

rorysparkle said...

in my research i try to make sense of the distinction between adaptation and "lethal mutation." Lethal mutations have a way of killing off the original innovation because the mutations lack no originating theoretical principles-- the dna of the thing has become unrecognizable. there are lots of education reforms that fit this description. edible bracelets-- adaptation or lethal mutation? Arguably more eco-friendly!