The Null Device
Douglas Rushkoff on the evolution of branding and marketing (excerpted from his book Coercion):
The real intention of target marketing to children and babies, however, goes deeper. The fresh neurons of young brains are valuable mental real estate to admen. By seeding their products and images early, the marketers can do more than just develop brand recognition; they can literally cultivate a demographic's sensibilities as they are formed. A nine-year-old child who can recognize the Budweiser frogs and recite their slogan (Bud-weis-er) is more likely to start drinking beer than one who can remember only Tony the Tiger yelling, "They^(1)re great!" (Currently, more children recognize the frogs than Tony.) This indicates a long-term coercive strategy.
It amounts to a game of cat-and-mouse between advertisers and their target psychographic groups. The more effort we expend to escape categorization, the more ruthlessly the marketers pursue us. In some cases, in fact, our psychographic profiles are based more on the extent to which we try to avoid marketers than on our fundamental goals or values.
Icelandic photographer Nökkvi Eliasson has a lot of artistic black & white photographs online, including some hauntingly stark images of deserted farms in Iceland. (Unfortunately, they're at a rather low resolution; too low to be used for wallpaper on anything newer than, say, a 128K Macintosh Plus.)