Simonetta Carbonaro is an expert in consumer psychology, strategic marketing and design management. She carries out research in the area of consumer ethos and behavior, forecasting the directions consumer culture is moving in.
Since 2002 she has been a Professor in Design Management and Humanistic Marketing at the University of Borås – The Swedish School of Textiles, where she has been initiating The Design of Prosperity initiative www.thedesignofprosperity.com. Carbonaro has been teaching for more than ten years at the postgraduate design school Domus Academy in Milan and has been a Visiting Professor at The London College of Fashion for the last three years.
Every time I’m confronted with the problem of Time, I cannot help but escape into memory (that past form of time) and recall a powerful reading from my youth.
“What is time? A mystery, a figment–and all powerful. It conditions the exterior world, it is motion married to and mingled with the existence of bodies in space, and with the motion of these. Would there be no time if there were no motion? No motion if no time? We fondly ask. Is time a function of space? Or space of time? Or are they identical? Echo answers. Time is functional, it can be referred to as action; we say a thing is ‘brought about’ by time. What sort of thing? Change! Now is not then, here is not there, for between them lies motion. But the motion by which one measures time is circular, is in a closed circle; and might almost equally well be described as rest, as cessation of movement — for the there repeats itself constantly in the here, the past in the present. Furthermore, as our utmost effort cannot conceive a final limit either to time or in space, we have settled to think of them as eternal and infinite — apparently in the hope that if this is not very successful, at least it will be more so than the other…” (Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain, Chap. IV, Changes — in Castorp’s mind)
Just a few days ago, while looking at one of the latest Calvin Klein spots on YouTube, I was thinking: “How dull are our times. Tasteless, banal and full of stereotypes. All about youthfulness and pseudo-erotics, offered wholesale.
But then I changed my mind.
I can see that the banality of that ad’s claim, Eternity Now, actually gets right to the heart of the real time we are immersed in.
It’s a kind of spa-notion, where time and space vanish.
A thermal-bath-concept, into which we are plunging daily.
A hot spot, where what happens here is happening there, and at the same time.
A GPS spot, where time-motion has taken the shape of the digital instant.
Exactly that simultaneity is what makes us feel that we have no time.
And when we are missing time, we are also missing space.
Is this the reason for that kind of wanderer nostalgia that goes into our bones, animal bones of a new generation of mutants, who know everything just by being nailed to the keyboards of our PCs, or the touch-screens of our tablets and cell-phones? New Nomads who virtually ramble, roam, stray and gallivant all over without going anywhere?
Yes, Eternity Now smells like a warm vaporous emptiness, plays like the name of a new millennium illness, a new malady of our souls.