The Affect of Ice Cream

I’ve decided to base my project around the media ecologies that exist within two different ice cream shops in the New York City area. While ice cream is a pretty basic food, it’s one that nearly everyone has once tried before; it’s a commodity that just is familiar to just about everyone.

This raises the question of, if ice cream is such a simple product, why has it become a commodity of such variability? Why do so many shops of different ambiences, environments, aesthetics, etc. exist in the city? What “types” of ice cream do each of these stores sell and what do the respective products say about the people that consume them?  In other words, I’m looking to understand the “transmission of affect” of the various spaces or as Teresa Brennan puts it “[the connection between} the ‘individual’ and the ‘environment’ (6). What will I find in observing and analyzing the physical structure of two different shops in two completely different areas, each selling a different types of ice cream? What are the characteristics and habits of those that frequent these stores and what is the “biological and the social”; the connection between who they are and why the shops attracted them (7)?

As stated by Bennett, “thing-power gestures toward the strange ability of ordinary, man-made items to exceed their status as objects and to manifest traces of independence or aliveness, constituting the outside of our own experience” (xvii). Ice cream is a commodity of “thing-power”. Based on what it is and where it is sold, ice cream holds different connotations and different meanings; it produces specific meaning to those that consume it. While the shops will be filled with people that come and go, their products and atmospheres will remain rather consistent. I’m looking to see what I can grasp from observing in the middle.

 -Lauren Schroeder
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~ by lns288 on September 20, 2015.

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