Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Elsewhere of Home Shopping and QVC- Katherine Robinson Core 2

In “An Ontology of Everyday Distraction: The Freeway, the Mall, and the Television” Margeret Morse explores the concept of nonspace and the fiction effect of distraction produced by contemporary spaces of mobile privatization like freeways, malls, and the television-centric domestic space. Morse articulates how all of these spaces are interrelated, i.e., televised images advertise products which we buy at the mall which we travelled to via the freeway. In addition, all of these places produce states of distraction as their citizens are disoriented from any specific reality(193-5). Morse predicts the gradual convergence of these nonspaces, as screens infiltrate public nonspaces: “beyond liquid worlds that readily convert into one another, we are now undergoing a process of gradual convergence of the analogs of television with television itself” (212). The home-shopping phenomena, and particularly QVC’s 1997 launch of its “home” set at QVC Studio Park, demonstrate the liquidity of the different nonspaces of commodity culture and their natural convergence in televised home shopping channels.

From the beginning, QVC, a home-shopping network launched in 1986, succeeded by directly addressing viewers and cultivating on-screen personalities with whom viewers could easily identify. QVC’s appeal and success is still tied to its ability to collapse the boundary between viewer and host. As explored in “The Genius of QVC” in The Atlantic in 2010, QVC’s formula for success lies in its ability to totally divorce the shopping experience from reality, both through its totally electronic paying procedures and the parasocial relationships it creates between viewer and host.

It is not just the charisma of the hosts which collapses the boundary between the domestic and consumer spaces, the entire QVC shopping experience is designed to evoke home and domesticity even as it commodifies it. Since 1997 and the opening of QVC Studio Park, QVC programs have been broadcast from a set designed to resemble a generic American home, from garage to guest bedroom. Products are sold from the “QVC home” and delivered directly to consumers’ actual homes. Through its combination of televised, generic domesticity and actual commodity exchange, QVC creates a space of exchange that is both intensely personal and totally anonymous. It allows viewers to create false personal bonds and contribute to the economy, all from the privacy of their own home, now a space of distracted consumerism. QVC combines the elsewhere of television with the elsewhere of the mall, demonstrating the liquidity and collapsibility of the consumer nonspaces, as Morse predicted.

"The Genius of QVC"- http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/06/the-genius-of-qvc/308091/
Timeline of QVC History- http://www.qvc.com/AboutQVCMiles.content.html

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