Picture in your mind your last peanut butter jar: remember how alluring it looked in the supermarket, sitting in a perfect row with all her identical sisters yet much more special because you grabbed it, and took it home with you.
Depending on your passion, the jar will already be looking empty and gross in a matter of days (for some more moderate people it takes even weeks). To experience that subtle tingling of happiness again you’ve got no other choice than to replace the first jar with an identical one from the store, looping in this cycle forever and ever. And ever.
More Contentedness is a project created to explore the strange relation between the material goods that we crave (content) and the related feeling of happiness (contentedness).
With this project we want to create a different kind of store, where you can consume your peanut butter without bothering to actually buy peanut butter all the time: an online supermarket where instead of continuously giving in to new sexy products, you only buy the concept of consuming and own it once and for all.
We documented the "life"of ten first common products from brand new to empty containers, in ten-stages photography-booklets.
With the help of our friends First on Mars and Bohemia Amsterdam we made a photo shoot of all our products being consumed from start to finish. We then created the first series of book/products to be available for purchase on the online supermarket.
Flipping through the books becomes a reinterpretation of everyday consumption. A fast forward insight into our relationship with the material goods we gather around us and discard in an endless cycle.
The logo of More Contentedness was created based on the buddhist symbol of Shrivatsa, the endless knot. A splash of thick dripping colour paint was added to the ancient symbol to connect the allegory of the eternal continuum with the modern face of consumerism.
We kept the usage of the logo to the minimum on a few applications such as the website, social media and promotional videos. We wanted to have a strong identity but the imagery of the products should have the leading role in our communication.
For the promotional purposes of our online supermarket we created a video that presented the process of going through the book/product in way that simulated the consumption of regular products by tearing each page after flipping it. A cognitive dissonance arises between the way one would use a book and the way one would use a jar full of peanut butter.
We prompt the view to reflect on those differences and even try to get more contentedness by purchasing one of our book/products.
To reinforce the paradoxical and eternal aspect of consuming we also made use of an auditory illusion called the Shepard scale. It is a set of tones that seem to increase in pitch through time when in fact they are just repeating. This infinite auditory loop is a kind of a sonic barber's pole.
The online supermarket
The final stage of More Contentedness was the creation of an online supermarket, a platform where people can learn about the concept and purchase their favourite products in the form of books for their own consumption and pleasure or even freedom from it.
We hope that somewhere along the process of purchasing one of our books it becomes evident to the visitor the paradox between buying content and trying to buy more contentedness.