Categories of repurposing


There are many examples of repurposed objects in popular culture and real life, which makes me define categories that, if well-referenced, will allow us to see how easily can objects be oriented and associated to bringing sexual pleasure, violence, memories, etc.

1. Sexual pleasure

I have always found sexual pleasure a rather intriguing and surprising theme as when, for example, I read that a military collector got a WWII artillery shell stuck in his rectum per ‘accident’ (Ladbible news, 2021). The Instagram post ends by saying that ‘while the bomb was disarmed and designed to penetrate tanks, it seems in this case it had a different target’. Bananas and courgettes are usually more usual in the collective imaginary, but probably any phallic-shaped object could penetrate men and women considering the item’s length, diameter and material as well as the inches that the user’s rectum can stretch. In this sense, pornographic videos suggest a world full of possibilities that will disconcert any theorist. While men and women may look for objects to be penetrated with and feel pleasure, men can also look for objects to penetrate as when the main protagonist Jim Levenstein explore sexual possibilities with a freshly baked pie in the iconic scene of ‘American Pie’ (1999). All this resourcefulness at the service of sexual pleasure may have given ideas to sex toys makers although at the end anyone is free to explore their sexuality and fantasies as desired.


Frame of 'American Pie' (1999)

2. Tension points

'Walls do not just carry the weight of the house, we also use them as a support either for ourselves or for other objects' (Brandes et al., 2008, p.144).

One day, my partner bought a silicone pink cone with a rounded triangular shape. She explained me that it could be stuck on the wall or on the floor to massage trigger points of my back or foot as a muscle release. As I often use walls corners to massage my back, she thought that such product would replace my unconventional use of the wall. However, the pink cone would constantly fell at each of my intents to stick it on our walls, because of the paint but also the pressure I would put on it, which soon made it useless. In Brandes et al's book cited earlier, we understand that if designers would better observe how people use objects and spaces of their surrounding environments, they would better design in order to attend the needs manifested in such observations. When looking at that pink cone massager, I just thought that some designer must have seen someone like me releasing back tensions with a wall corner, and had this brilliant idea to respond to that need with a manufactured item. Nice try. Walls corners for humans will be difficult to be replaced. Baloo, from 'The Jungle Book' (1967) already taught us some time ago that a 'big scratch' call would be taken care by a simple tree.

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Wall corner used to release back pain (left) and the silicone massager (right)


Baloo in 'The Jungle Book' (1967)

Posted: October 28th, 2022