Technology, Novelty and Luxury
Artemis Yagou (ed.)
Deutsches Museum 2022 [ISBN 978-3-948808-13-6, p. 118]
Type: New Publications
The meaning of luxury is complex, elusive and continuously debated. Among the innumerable facets of luxury, technology is one of the most important, but it is also rather overlooked. The key argument of this edited volume is that technology provides a fundamental background for luxury. The authors analyse technology-related aspects of luxury by focusing on four categories of objects from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: musical instruments, educational toys, pocket watches and furniture. These case studies illustrate how various stakeholders have manipulated technology in order to generate new types of luxury, competing with older ones, and to introduce innovative consumption patterns and fashion trends. This tense and creative process has led to the broadening and reinterpretation of the concept of luxury.
In particular, the implementation of new materials and technologies has given rise to accessible forms of luxury that have challenged established perceptions and led to novel user practices and experiences. As the authors show, the interplay of technology with the values and beliefs of given societies has contributed to the shifting meanings of luxury, a fascinating concept that keeps evolving. Technology, Novelty, and Luxury is a cross-disciplinary volume that aims to enrich research and debate in many domains, including the history of technology and design, cultural history and the history of mentalities.