By Miles Orvell
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Additional resources for After the Machine: Visual Arts and the Erasing of Cultural Boundaries
Starting with the best possible design of the automobile, based on its function and purpose, Ford shaped around it the organization of the factory and the merchandising of its products. With efficiency the primary virtue, all wasteexcess weight in the vehicle, unused byproducts in the processwere to be eliminated. Waste was also excess force used by the man in performing the job, and Ford subscribed to the principles of "Scientific Management" as Frederick Winslow Taylor had developed them, matching the man to the machine and the machine to the man in as perfect a wedding as possible.
But, as these studies demonstrate, the boundaries between these categories have eroded in the twentieth century, offering a variety of permutations and borrowings at both ends and across the middle. g. Frederick Jameson and Terry Eagleton). Nor do I see it as an existentially liberating, undifferentiated simulacrum in which all differences between high and low culture have faded away (Jean Baudrillard). Rather, I see our Page xiv culture as a set of differentiated markets that occasionally cross over their boundaries and that incessantly borrow from one another, something like Umberto Eco's fluid system of interchangeable signs.
These utopian ideals would flourish briefly in the Technocracy movement of the Depression, as a response to the proven disorder of the marketplace. If Sheeler's response to Fordforgetting the labor practices, the strikes, the Ford police, the social campaignswas thus a positive one, it was not far from the popular response to the myth of Ford (Smith 15-55).