Panel Discussion Prompt: Unplugged

There seems to be a cultural bias that regards authenticity as tied to notions of substance/content rather than image or appearance. For instance, in its early days, MTV was scorned by some for its apparent obsession with image (over content). The implication of this criticism was that image-obsessed artists and fans were not real. For purists, real music had substance and content, and didn’t need to be propped up or embellished with visual artifice. Eventually, MTV sought to meliorate this criticism by offering MTV Unplugged, a show with and ostensibly stripped-down, back-to-the-basics look at the music of popular artists (without all that video distraction). Of course, Unplugged was actually as carefully constructed and produced as any other video on the channel. Still, its appeal had something to do with its appearance of being more real. Does our apparent cultural bias towards associating value with content over image have implications for design’s cultural standing? 


(Picking up here on a thread from the intro to Kenneth FitzGerald's MS of his forthcoming book Volume.