Landscapes of Global Capital
tv globe icon link to home Signifying Clusters: Children
Introduction
Feed the children
Corporate paternalism
The cure
High tech classroom
Techno-metaphor
Child prodigy
The obnoxious visionary
Unfettered imagination
We care
Harmonious music
Cynicism of legitimation
You can't buy love
Harmony of technology

Technology advertising has long associated itself with the creative impulse often suggesting that the technology itself is what allows us to look at the world in a new untainted way. Consequently, commercials that signify inspiration, imagination or creativity are littered with images of children constructed as naturally curious who are still enchanted with the world. The gaze of children particularly upon nature commonly signifies imagination and inspiration.

Often these commercials start with a child gazing at the heavens. The image is kinetic; it initiates the narrative of the commercial. For example, a Compaq ad starts with the question, "Where do you find inspiration?" The camera zooms in on a boy holding a butterfly, while the narrator frames our attention.

Where do you find inspiration?
What if the things you do everyday could be done with tools so instinctive using them would be like riding a bike.
If technology became your silent partner imagine what you could imagine.
We believe it's time to move beyond information technology to inspiration technology.
Welcome to the new IT from Compaq.

Images of artists and scientists who also find inspiration looking at the butterfly follow and blend with images of computer technology to demonstrate the way in which this butterfly can be transformed in a creative work or a scientific discovery. The ad ends with a child looking up to the heavens in awe and wonderment creating equivalence between this gaze and both scientific and artistic vision. These two orientations share not only motivation and curiosity but also an appreciation of the structure of being. The artist transforms the butterfly into a kite; the scientist works for the biotech company Celera best-known for being the first to assemble and annotate the mouse genome. We are led to assume that the depicted scientist is working on a new drug.

Children touching the computer screen, reaching out or pointing , or looking up into the heavens are metonyms for the Enlightenment narrative. In a real sense each image is an abbreviated narrative. Like any photograph it asks us to fill in what comes before and after. However, in these ads the past is left in the dust. The images that follow a child's look of wonderment supported by narration and music express future possibility. This narrative is then stamped with a corporate logo and slogan.


Sign Formulas & Branding

Signifying Clusters

Structural Frames

The obnoxious visionary < Previous

Next > We care

© Copyright 1998-2003
Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey