I found the introduction to the Hedbige article that referred to Jean Genet’s experience of being stigmatized due to the tube of Vaseline really powerful and poignant. The idea that an artifact could be so revealing in terms of one’s identity or how one belongs to a certain group I found fascinating and so it got me thinking about what would be an equivalent artifact in the present day. My first thoughts were clothes (especially after reading Entwistle’s article) but that seemed too obvious and I tried to think of an artifact that exists in the media world we live in today that Genet never experienced. I was reminded of a story my friend told me about his friend who ‘came out’ to his friends and family recently and revealed that she was gay. If you look at her facebook page and did not know her on very personal terms then there is no way of knowing she is gay because she does not explicitly write it anywhere nor does she show on the ‘information’ tab on her profile page the female she is in a relationship with. However, if you look through her pictures, there is a photo that someone else has tagged of her with two other females with a caption that says underneath “our coming out party”.

There is the obvious connection of homosexuality in both the stories but perhaps there is something more; maybe the facebook viewer is the equivalent of the police in Genet’s story where if one digs a little deeper, a lot is revealed by making meaning and connections from given evidence that exists in our culture. Facebook is part and parcel of so many people’s lives nowadays that it is arguably the equivalent of Genet’s Vaseline and can be one of the “most mundane objects” that Hebdige refers to as it has a “symbolic dimension”. Just like Genet, the police and the viewer of my friend’s profile, we “must seek to recreate the dialectic between action and reaction which renders these objects meaningful” (p.2). This arguably in many ways sums up what we are trying to do when critiquing interaction design.

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