Goods Of Desire (GOD), the chic Hong Kong lifestyle store aims to transcend the realm of desire
The world was on fire and no one could save me but you. It's strange what desire will make foolish people do. I never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you. And I never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you. Chris Isaak (1989) 'Wicked Game' in Heart Shaped World.
All our desires are contradictory, like the desire for food. I want the person I love to love me. If he is, however, totally devoted to me he does not exist any longer and I cease to love him. And as long as he is not totally devoted to me he does not love me enough. Hunger and repletion. Simone Weil (1977) The Simone Weil Reader,364.
Nowadays desire is everywhere. It has been so since the modern era – period in which humanity embraced the possibility of self-realization. The individual was suddenly released from tradition, the meaning of experience and the search for wisdom; instead, a series of immediate events and information attempted to temporary fulfill one’s potential. Modernism partially derived from the focus of 18th century Romanticism on difference, emotion and desire: the basis of contemporary popular culture.
The components of desire, urge and action, seem to run parallel in an endless moebious strip; that is to say, when the action has subsided the urge, the urge has already moved to something else. These agencies will never meet and, consequently, contentment becomes impossible. The Greeks invented Eros to describe this relation. In 1998, Ann Carson recurred to Diotima in the Symposium to affirm that (erotic) desire 'is a bastard got by Wealth on Poverty and ever at home in a life of want.'* Ever since, in the aim to understand the contradiction and express the pain of this phenomenon – or wicked game as Chris Isaak would sing in 1989 – desire has become a concurrent motif in everyday life.
Desire has been qualified as sweet-bitter (Sappho), a state of dupery (Sartre), torture (Simone de Beauvoir) and hunger (Weil). Although Eros entails the lack of something, the reaction that this notion encourages also requires the belief of unexpected and sudden fulfillment.** The Scottish philosopher David Hume affirmed in 1751 that desire is not enough unless belief interacts with the subject’s original drive. In this argument, desire becomes motivation and provides the individual not only with material satisfaction but also with the expectation of inner enlightenment. Attraction and aversion constitute the opposing poles of the axis of desire – function is not required although constitutes an added value.
Within this frame is that Goods of Desire (G.O.D) – the furniture, clothing and design store from Hong Kong – seems to operate. In the attempt to create desire, G.O.D. has recurred to surprise as strategy, conviction and/or marketing tool. The intention has been stated as to provide 'something desirable' that the customers 'have not even imagined before.'*** This proposal creates previously non-existing needs only to simultaneously offer the correspondent objects of satisfaction. In order to perpetuate the chain of consumption, belief comes into place by instrumentalising 'the phonetic sound of the Cantonese slang ‘to live better.’'**** While this is proclaimed to be a local reference, it is clear that it also refers to the English word god and its capacity not only to denote faith but also to reach a world-wide audience: G.O.D. has expansion plans.
If desire and belief concur in a G.O.D. object, then experience becomes limited and conditioned by it. Its individual manipulation and transformation constitute an act of transgression in the customer’s attempt to reach transcendence: the very core of modernity. Nonetheless, alternative beliefs – such as Buddhism, Stoicism and others – remind us that the submission to desire is not the only option. The overcoming of it can also be the ideal. Christian Parreno