Caroline Cavalcanti de Oliveira, FAE Centro Universitário/FAE Business School, Brazil.
Significant variations on supply and demand modes for goods’ acquisition contributed to redefine consumption behaviors in “hypermodernity” (Lipovetsky), that can be observed with the establishment of deeper connections between consumers and their belongings: Both the acquisition and the usage of goods are increasingly promoting what is treated here as an expectation towards “experience” (Gumbrecht). Indeed, since early 2000’s, more than social status, efficiency in use, or ornamentation, the processes and practices of consumption seem delineated by an ‘experiential feature’ (regarding aesthetic awareness associated with a seek for sensations). The paper reinforces that such ‘experiential feature’ is strengthened by goods, once considering experiences as mediated by “material culture” (Miller) items. In this sense, it is argued that the relation established between individuals and their materialities in the seek for consumption experiences is, moreover, engaged by (as well as relies on) the visual aspects of the materialities. Therefore, the developed analysis presents what is considered in the ongoing research as hypermodern “regimes of vision” (Crary), explaining how visualness potentially affects processes and practices of consumption, since visuality suggests forthcoming experiences. Although observed in many segments, the used empirical framework regards the prominent worldwide enthusiasm for the gastronomy subject to trace a panorama of visuality related to the aforementioned experiences’ expectation from consumption. More precisely, it is analyzed the consumption of items associated with cooking practices that seem to embody experiences lead by visuality: The paper presents instances of visible adjustments in kitchen appliances, as well as apparatus and utensils’ design (encompassing colors, shapes and lines of drawing, or materials used to conceive their appearance) in hypermodern times. The approach enables identifying typologies (remarkably the professional, the retro and the vintage, visually recognizable in those kitchen items) that exemplify how the ‘experiential feature’ is engaged by (and relied on) visuality.