Zappos Selbstdarstellung by Joel Holmberg
Art Fag City started their artist essay series, IMG MGMT, again this week with "Zappos Selbstdarstellung" by Joel Holmberg. In this essay, Holmberg considers the corporate culture of the online shoe company Zappos, which encourages the individual expression of its employees through social media outlets, content it then uses to build their overall brand. Holmberg makes the observation that this communal bonding through self-expression is similar to the Selbstdarstellung performances acted out by members of Otto Muehl’s Action Analysis Commune. Here, members were to "reveal one's freest self" through "spontaneous acts of self-representation." What results is "joy-bordering-on-desperation," as members were pushed to test their own boundaries by the larger group. The Zappos example illustrates the contemporary corporate adaptation of psychological practices used in various social experiments from the 1960s and 1970s, a subject elaborated in greater detail by filmmaker Adam Curtis in The Century of the Self.